By Nate Morrow
Is good nutrition developing a bad reputation based on outrageous costs?
A number of recent studies have demonstrated the increasing cost of fresh, nutritious food. Conventional wisdom suggests that this cost can keep you from eating as healthfully as you might like -- this makes it difficult for many people who would rather buy and prepare unprocessed, natural foods.
But is eating healthy really as expensive as everyone claims?
No. No, it's not.
Study Claims a Healthy Diet Costs 10x More -- But Is It Misleading?Much of the recent rabble surrounding the price of food stems from a 2007 study by University of Washington. This study compared the price of snack foods to fresh fruits and vegetables.
In particular, the study claims that eating a healthy diet can cost up to 10 times as much as a diet based on junk food. Well, no wonder people don't eat healthy! With numbers like that, who could afford to?
As it turns out, though, the study uses price per calorie, as it's an easy metric for determining the cost of food. This means that when comparing junk foods loaded with fat and sugar to nutrient-dense foods like spinach, broccoli or apples, the junk food is going to dominate calorie count every time!
If we discount the fact that the calories in junk food are, by and large, nutritionally worthless, a more appropriate metric would be price per serving. Fruits and veggies, by nature, have a much lower calorie count per serving (hint: that's partly why they're better for you).
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