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Don’t Blame the Dinero

Don’t Blame the DineroTalking healthy food: what’s the ultimate cop-out for not shelling-out? “Healthy foods just cost too much!”

Is that true? Do healthy foods cost more than not-so-healthy food? Turns out, it depends on who you ask. And how you calculate food cost.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) recently took this teaser to task. In their newly published report, “Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price“, the authors analyze three ways to cost food:

  • Food Energy: $ per calorie
  • Price of Edible Weight: $100 per edible gram
  • Price per Average Portion: $ per average portion

For the report, ERS looked at 4,439 food items and analyzed their price per calorie, price per edible gram and price per portion consumed.

And what did they find? The first part is not surprising:

  • Foods low in calories – such as fruits and vegetables – are more expensive on the price per calorie scale
  • Foods high in calories – those with lots of fat and sugar – are less expensive on the price per calorie scale

But consuming more calories isn’t our goal here people. It’s the quality of those calories that count:

  • When looking at edible weight or average portion size, the healthy foods – fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy foods – are not only healthier, but also less expensive than other protein foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium

The report summarizes what most nutrition professionals already know but consumers fail to believe: healthy food does not cost more.

And it’s not just your savings at the point of purchase that matter. Choosing healthy foods now prevents the ghoulish grocery list of paybacks you don’t want later: diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer.

The verdict is in: you can’t blame cost for any more calorie conscious cutbacks!

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