No, Healthy Foods Don’t Cost More
We’ve all been there — balking at the price of olive oil, experiencing physical pain at how much a pound of tomatoes cost. Indeed, it definitely seems like it takes a lot of cash to eat healthy. But, according to a study by the United States Food and Department of Agriculture (USDA), that commonly held belief is little more than a myth. Sticking to a healthy diet rich in nutrients is no more costly than eating a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup — in fact, it is less expensive to eat healthy!
Based on cost per calorie, portion size and weight, the researchers determined that healthier food options are more affordable. Getting to that conclusion, however, is a little more complicated than simply comparing the caloric content of foods. Based on cost per calorie, portion size and weight, the researchers determined that healthier foods are a more affordable option. Or, for example, as the study authors wrote,
“An average portion of potato chips might be cheaper than an average portion of baked potato, but if it takes two average portions of potato chips to make up a cup equivalent of starchy vegetables, then the baked potato might be a cheaper way to meet the recommendation.”
So what does that mean for consumers? Well, the the study authors suggest that, rather than looking at the base cost per pound of a food item, you look at the total nutritional value of what you’re purchasing.