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Junk Food Costs More Than Real Food: 4 Reasons We Keep Eating It

Junk Food Costs More Than Real Food: 4 Reasons We Keep Eating It
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Junk food is not actually cheaper than real food, the New York Times’s Mark Bittman argues. He’s seeking to combat the common notion that one reason people eat so much junk food, and are therefore overweight and in danger of health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes, is because “a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli”; because it’s cheaper to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to make them a home-cooked meal. Actually, says Bittman, it’s hyperprocessed food” that remains more expensive than food cooked at home and “the fact is that most people can afford real food.”

Bittman finds that a “typical order” for a family of four at the Golden Arches costs $28: two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas. In contrast, for half the price, you can roast a chicken with vegetables and also have a salad and milk. For even less ($9), “substitute a meal of rice and canned beans with bacon, green peppers and onions.” So why do people keep giving their money to McDonalds, Taco Bell and the like?

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223 comments

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5:53AM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:56PM PST on Nov 29, 2012

Crazy economics and examples. If the end user is exposed to growth hormones then is not that a cause for "overweight"? Plus the BMI is still used. BMI is useless wasteful and misleading. It is easy to use but brings a false sense of reality. For health the waste hip ratio is much more accurate.
The real problem is hunger. Go to your grocery store and think how much a person really would consume. Remember the power to cook also costs! Your time is also worth money. I myself can eat a whole chicken in one sitting. When I was in sports I would eat two full dinners at night. So these "examples" are not real world.
I myself think that there are issues that have not been examined properly. With the sides stuck in ideological conflict there is little hope that anything constructive will be done.

4:19AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Our lives are so busy. But it is so important to take the time to do the best for our bodies. If not, we will regret it later in life. Eat more veggies and less of the junk. It is hard, as I know, but take the time.

7:59PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

I think a lot of people get fast food because it is easier. They're tired at the end of a long work day and just don't have the energy to cook a big meal. People ate better 50+ years ago mainly because the woman was at home and she had time and energy to cook a big, healthy meal. She considered it part of her day's work and most of the time enjoyed, or at least didn't mind, doing it. Times have changed, be it for the better or the worse, and a quick, easy meal just suits the bill. We need more healthy choices for take-out.

10:52PM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

I like Burger King's veggie burgers. It's nice that one major chain actually gives you options.

10:36AM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

I think slowing down and little and taking the time to just cook and eat will really help with this problem. It works for me--I'm more likely to eat well when I do this

4:44PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

I don't eat fast food. I grow up eating and cooking from the garden. I honestly don't understand
why people eat the stuff. I worked 50-60 hours per week and still cooked all our meals from scratch. I would batch cook either one night of the week or one day of the week when I was home.

12:30PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Not wanting to cook is my problem!

12:04PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

I still believe that Fast Food production companies put addictive flavour enhancers in their food to make us crave it. It's so addictive it's like a drug.

7:21AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

No one is THAT busy. I'm busy but I still manage to shop and cook.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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