Thursday, May 17, 2012

Food Costs

I have heard people say for years that eating healthful foods is too expensive. It's cheaper to buy the highly processed foods in the middle of the grocery store than the fresh foods on the perimeter. A new study refutes that common argument/excuse for people eating poorly. Instead of comparing price per calorie, they compared price per serving. Prior studies have found that calorie-for-calorie, junk food is more cost effective.

What this new study did was acknowledge that healthful foods will keep a person satiated for a longer time than low-nutrition, high-sugar junk foods. A $1 apple will satisfy more than the $1 bag of chips. Once you account for that reality, junk food is not as cost effective. The same comparison can be done for oats vs. a doughnut for breakfast.

This knowledge led them to measure food costs in two new ways. One is price per edible weight, the weight after it's cooked and inedible parts removed. The other way was price per average amount eaten. I know I can only eat 1/2 cup of oats at the most, but can eat 1/2 dozen Krispy Kremes. I can eat an entire bag of Doritos, but can't eat the same $$ cost worth of broccoli. Even if I did, I'd be very full after the veggies and still able to eat after the Doritos.

This is only considering the direct costs, not the long-term effects of eating a diet of junk foods which will lead to higher medical costs later. If you were to consider that the hit to your pocketbook for eating poorly would be much more noticeable. After scanning through the study, it reminds me of the Weight Watchers system. The higher calorie foods actually cost you more. Weight Watchers will charge you more points off your daily allowance, the grocery store will charge you more money.

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