Junk Food and Health Food – The Cost

Hey friends! How are you all handling the transition into Winter? Like I said, November is a great month-so I’m handling it just fine :)

When talking with various persons about what I do, I am often asked questions (how do I lose weight? is a very common one! Or the exclamation, don’t judge me on what I eat tonight-when at dinners, etc.). To these questions and inquiries I usually give my opinion plus some scientific research to back up whatever I am saying.

Junk Food and Health Food – The Cost

The topic of the cost of and/or difference of cost of junk food and health food is definitely one that creates a lot of controversy, especially since both sides have valid points and arguments–and even more especially since both sides vehemently believe each is right.

ice cream may be considered 'junk food' to some... ;)

It is of my opinion (and experience) that ‘normal’ healthy food (i.e. beans, fruits & vegetables in season, and whole grains) are not terribly expensive and are worth whatever price in regards to health and well-being. However, it is true that PER calorie, junk food is almost always cheaper–and this is because those foods are usually produced using cheap, artificial ingredients and flavorings —thus lowering the overall cost per calorie of the food. But why does THAT even matter? It is not like most of this nation needs to worry about getting in enough calories……

And what kind of costs are we REALLY talking about? If one simply calculated the cost of eating a regular junk food diet (one who regularly consumes soda, chips, crackers, etc.) versus someone who ate mainly whole foods such as grains, beans, and fruits & vegetables, the person who consumed the junk food diet might spend less $$ per month on the grocery bill BUT he/she would most likely spend hundreds of dollars more each month in doctor’s bills, health care costs, and other miscellaneous costs that come with unhealthy habits (i.e. added gas costs for being overweight, shopping costs for bigger clothes) down the road.

salad!!

I guess it is about seeing life and health through a different lens, changing the focus and deciding on what is MOST important : the fleeting pleasure of eating highly engineered food that is designed to stimulate the palate (hello lots of sugar, fat, and salt!) but comes with serious consequences that could show up later or sooner, OR eating the delicious, colorful foods -what the body is designed to consume- and enjoying a life full of satisfaction, health, and vitality for years and years.

Is it the quick satisfaction we want out of our foods (and the possible unhealthy consequences that follow), or the really good fuel that will keep us living healthy, strong and happy? 

And where are we willing to pay? And when?

Any bad choice comes with eventual consequences -this is truth-and it is a truth that is quite evident when one consumes a diet that is made up of lots of processed foods.

homemade blueberry pancakes. Delish

I read an article recently that brought up some fantastic point on the topic. The article is : Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? From The NY Times.  Some quotes from the article I really liked include :

  • The core problem is that cooking is defined as work, and fast food is both a pleasure and a crutch. 
  • Another argument runs that junk food is cheaper when measured by the calorie, and that this makes fast food essential for the poor because they need cheap calories. But given that half of the people in this country (and a higher percentage of poor people) consume too many calories rather than too few, measuring food’s value by the calorie makes as much sense as measuring a drink’s value by its alcohol content. 
  • “Anything that you do that’s not fast food is terrific; cooking once a week is far better than not cooking at all,” says Marion Nestle, professor of food studies at New York University and author of “What to Eat.” “It’s the same argument as exercise: more is better than less and some is a lot better than none.
  • Furthermore, the engineering behind hyperprocessed food makes it virtually addictive.
  • Real cultural changes are needed to turn this around. Somehow, no-nonsense cooking and eating — roasting a chicken, making a grilled cheese sandwich, scrambling an egg, tossing a salad — must become popular again, and valued not just by hipsters in Brooklyn or locavores in Berkeley. The smart campaign is not to get McDonald’s to serve better food but to get people to see cooking as a joy rather than a burden, or at least as part of a normal life.
  • HOW do you change a culture? The answers, not surprisingly, are complex. “Once I look at what I’m eating,” says Dr. Kessler, “and realize it’s not food, and I ask ‘what am I doing here?’ that’s the start. It’s not about whether I think it’s good for me, it’s about changing how I feel. And we change how people feel by changing the environment.”
  • All quotes from THIS article 

feed me my veggies!

Have a lovely day!

What do YOU think?? Did YOU like this article?? Why do YOU eat what YOU eat–is it for cost purposes?? Health?? Let’s hear it!

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Comments

  1. I like the article! I think it has a lot of great points, and is very accurate in what it has to say. I definitely eat what I eat for my health. I’ve learned over the last few years that my health is absolutely a priority to me, and if that means spending a few extra dollars on food, it’s worth it to me. I’ve also found ways to eat healthy without spending a fortune. It’s really not that difficult as some people may say or assume. Great post!! 😉

  2. Very true. But most of the people that I speak with about healthy eating, really don’t have a concept of what healthy eating really is. Nor do some of them even care to alter their habits. They laugh and say they want food that tastes GOOD. All the while they are clogging their arteries, setting themselves up for all types of diseases.

    Another thing that really irks me is with the health industry. My insurance, as well as many other insurance companies don’t want to pay for tests and the like that help maintain good health. They say if you aren’t having problems or symptoms, we will not pay for the tests to be done. Don’t they realize if people work to stay healthy, the insurance companies will have must less costs overall. They don’t give people any incentive to be healthy.

    • That is an interesting point–and I know that a lot of companies are fighting back and trying to give their employees incentives and lower rates…..but insurance companies overall need to catch on too :)

  3. very very interesting post!

    I gravitate towards eating healthy, but I admit I do still have some processed foods in my diet..but its not because of cost reasons. I just enjoy some of my random treats.. (a bag of chips or a box of cheezits in my cabinet here and there..) but its just that, treats, not the majority of my food. I think if you eat whats in season and buy whats on sale, it tends to not be that expensive to eat healthier. I guess a lot of people are attracted to the “convenience” of junk food…but it scares me how addictive it is and it also scares me with how crappy I feel whenever I rarely do eat fast food…no bueno, seriously.

    I really hope that people become more educated on eating healthier…i’ve never felt happier or better in general since i’ve learned the value of fruits and veggies :)

    • Love this comment!! You’re right, eating well makes each of us feel fabulous! And that, my friend, IS worth any cost :)

      Also, it is totally okay to eat some chips or whatever once in awhile, but I think the point is that a diet that is made up of mostly those things won’t do much for us in the long run.

  4. caroline says:

    LOVED THIS POST. Amen. Amen. A- freaken- men. I see so many people on my unit at the hospital with poor health and I know that diet had a direct correlation into their health problems.

    Cooking is FUN, and so much more rewarding then going out for fast food.

    Our grocery bill has gone up in the past few months but we realize that we are investing in our health and our future. and THAT is worth spending money on.

    • :)

      Cooking CAN be fun….haha. I have to be in the mood, but it totally beats throwing down greasy, processed crap into my system any day!

  5. I’ve been reading healthy blogs for almost a year now and even though i do treat myself occasionally i can’t bring myself to eat the things i used to enjoy like cheezies!
    I just enjoy whole foods where the ingredient lists are small and i don’t have to worry about what hidden chemicals are in there
    So many of my friends are blown away when they try things i make like green smoothies and kale chips, its like natural healthy food is hidden behind the giant being that is junk food and fast food restaurants!
    Great post :)

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