Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
40oz

Eating Healthy is more expensive

Recommended Posts

Sorry I have to bum you guys for help, but I have a presentation coming up on Monday, and was curious if you guys could help me. I'm making a 3-4 minute persuasive presentation and the topic is "Junk Food" needs more government regulation in the United States. I divided my topic into three subcategories that I will spend one minute talking about each.


  • Buzz words/phrases such as "All Natural" or "Reduced Sugar" that are used on product advertising don't actually mean anything, and some vernacular is too complex for common people to understand.

  • Serving sizes on nutrition facts labels are not standardized, and chosen by the companies to be "ideal," and not realistic.

  • Shopping for processed junk foods is more affordable for the average lower-income household than healthy or organic alternatives.
The problem I'm having so far is the third subcategory. Often when I google or youtube search for things like "Eating Healthy is expensive," or "Eating processed food is cheaper" I keep getting links to stuff like "top ten ways to eat healthy on a budget" or "#1 Myth: Eating Healthy is expensive!" I'm having trouble finding a reputable source that will argue in favor of my topic. It is strange especially, since I've been living independently, I've found that eating healthier does cost more money than eating junk.

There are a lot of factors involved, but I'm seeing in this videos and articles is a lot of people doing direct comparisons of things like a box of granola bars to a bag of baby carrots. Sure the carrots cost less and have more protein and fiber and vitamins, but once you open a bag of baby carrots, you gotta put the carrots in your own ziploc bags that you have to buy, or your mason jars that you have to wash. I spent a few years shopping very thrifty at no-name grocery stores instead of large chains or convenience stores, and buying only generic brands and cheap food. A box of generic macaroni and cheese or a package of ramen noodles costs less than $0.60 a package, and a giant bag of white rice is like $4, which will feed us for a month.

This year my wife is trying a diet that depends on her eating much more fresh fruits, nuts, lean meats, and vegetables. She's been pretty enthusiastic about it and I'm happy to see her trying to live a healthier lifestyle, so I've been shopping for the things she adds to our shopping list. I do a lot of comparison shopping and sometimes refuse to buy things if they're not on sale yet, or look for cheaper alternatives with similar nutritional value. Even so, when I was usually spending about $60 per grocery store trip at the most before, I'm now spending closer to $70, while visiting the grocery store more often.

When you buy a can of soup, or frozen dinners, sure there is petroleum and preservatives and additives and junk in it, but it lasts much longer. You can't freeze your fresh fruit and maintain it's freshness, and it usually only has a shelf life of about a week before it goes bad. Even if you make a recipe with all fresh ingredients, it can only sit in the fridge for a few days before it starts to go bad, so between the two of us, we have to want to eat the same thing for just about every meal before it goes bad and we have to throw it away. Also my wife and I like onions but we don't love them. The grocery store I go to only sells onions in bags of 4. So usually we end up spending $3.99 on only the one and a half onions we use. Eating processed shit lasts longer so I maximize the amount of food I actually get out of what I spend my money on. I don't have statistical documentation of this to use, and I'm having trouble finding a source that will address this.

Share this post


Link to post

The FDA recently proposed revisions to nutrition labels: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm

As you can imagine there is significant resistance from many food companies, so who knows if this will ever make it into official regulation, but the suggested changes are largely to make it more understandable. (Here's an entertaining "Last Week Tonight" on the added-sugar part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MepXBJjsNxs)

Re: "healthier is expensive": Price is a big reason, definitely. Poor availability and quality of healthy foodstuffs in low-income areas also contributes. Check this out: http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/why-are-low-income-and-food-insecure-people-vulnerable-to-obesity/

Share this post


Link to post

With regards to the fruit:

Get a blender or Nutribullet. You can freeze or buy frozen fruit in bulk and make smoothies. Buy a huge ass bag of spinach which you can freeze and toss that in the smoothie as well. Throw in a serving of protein powder and you've got yourself an excellent healthy meal anytime of the day.

If you make huge batches of chili or soup from scratch you can portion out the excess and freeze them. That way you aren't constantly eating the same shit.

For lean meats, chicken thighs are typically the best bang for your buck. Rip the skin off to lower the amount of fat. Then grill 'em dice 'em. Freeze what you don't use. You can also freeze the skin and make chicken stock for soup or rice dishes.

I don't really know if I answered your question at all. Lastly I'd say you Americans have some of the most plentiful and "affordable" sources of fresh meat. Affordable when put it into context with prices elsewhere in the world.

Share this post


Link to post

Do you have access to online databases of academic papers/essays via your college's website? A lot of colleges subscribe to these services so students can browse a library of previous research for free and build upon what is called the body of knowledge. If your college has a library homepage, go there and look for a link to online databases (you might need some log-in info to prove you are a student) or go ask a librarian how to access them in a computer lab on campus.

Share this post


Link to post

When it comes right down to it Organic food isn't all that better for you and the organic classification process in the US isn't as through and regulated as most people think.

For example in less its labeled 100% organic, the food is still being exposed to the same herbicides and pesticides as the rest of the food supply. Food only has to be a curtain percentage organic to receive the label,so anything not labeled 100% organic will still have a lot of the additives that the rest of the food supply does. A lot of organic food, especially meats are still produced in factory farms.

A lot of people get this idea that because something is labeled organic, it comes from someones family farm, has no additives and is not exposed to the same chemicals as the rest of the food supply. When in reality none of that is 100% true. In a lot of cases organic is simply a buzz word used to get people to pay more for food because its labeled as such.

If people honestly want the best quality of food they can get and want to ensure it's not coming out of a factory farm or being exposed to harsh chemicals, farming it themselves is still the only way to go.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for that link ribbiks, that helped tremendously :)

Share this post


Link to post

There is so-called "health food" that's marketed as such, and is very expensive, but eating healthily needn't be expensive at all. I survived on peanuts for years (speaking figuratively, peanuts actually kill me) eating home cooked meals consisting primarily of brown rice, lentils, bulgar wheat, chick peas, and tomatoes (plus some creamed coconut if I was splashing out). The meals were certainly healthy (or, at least, not unhealthy), and really really cheap to make (also minimal effort - win win). But if you want more variety in your diet then this approach has its limitations.

Share this post


Link to post

There's a related view on this which can be enlightening.

You've almost certainly heard of Jamie Oliver who has been trying to promote healthier eating in both the UK and the US, particularly among poor people. I read some criticism of him recently - I don't think this is the exact article I read but it's a similar sentiment.

Basically poverty has a bunch of other unpleasant outcomes and if you're well-off enough, have a stable job etc. then they may not be obvious. For example, put yourself in the shoes of someone who's a single parent, maybe working two minimum wage jobs to support your family. That means you come home late, completely exhausted, and perhaps the prospect of having to cook dinner as well doesn't seem so appealing. In that kind of scenario, fast-food or ready-meals can be less healthy and more expensive than buying the ingredients and making something fresh. But it is cheaper in terms of energy expended.

Not exactly what you were asking about but maybe that's helpful in some way.

Share this post


Link to post

In some places in the US a bunch of bananas costs more than a taco bell meal. If you're crunched for money, price always wins.

Fast food is cheap because it's designed to be as cheap as possible. "Normal" food doesn't get that luxury; logistics may play a part of it, but fast food restaurant chains can control pretty much everything to bring down costs, even down to their own ketchup factories.

Grocery stores' only way to bring costs down is that they can buy in "bulk". There's not much else they can do when it comes to fresh, healthy produce.

And the price of bell pepper at grocery stores is insane.


Farmers' markets may offset this, but most are seasonal, and during the 80s and 90s when food was really cheap, a lot of them closed up shop. now the food has gone back up due to rising fuel prices (and countless other factors), and it's putting a strain on people that can't afford to go to Whole Foods or something.

It's infuriating. On top of this, those who disagree with all this will put out the classic line, "Poor people are supposed to be skinny, not fat, ergo, they aren't poor". Such arguments are nonsense, but they are batted around in Washington as sound arguments.

Share this post


Link to post
AndrewB said:

Starting with a conclusion and then looking for evidence to support it. Classic.


It's perfectly possible he was assigned the topic by the instructor. I've had speech/presentation classes where the teacher would give you a topic and simply ask you to talk about it for x minutes, if for no other reason than to brush up on your public speaking and persuasiveness.

Regardless if he was assigned it or not, he DID say he came to the conclusion about healthy food prices from his time living independently, so it's not like he arbitrarily pulled the conclusion out of his ass.

Share this post


Link to post

The idea that healthy food is expensive is a myth.

I've become heavily into fitness over the past year, and my wallet feels a shitload lighter because I make most of my meals. I buy my $2 carrots, $2 potatoes, $3 oatmeal, $3 yogurt, $5 chicken breast, and I get by on 1700 calories a day. Drink water, not milk, not soda. Not even fruit juice.

"B-but I don't want to eat the same thing every day!"

Tough titty. Do you want to lose weight or not?

Share this post


Link to post
Mr. Freeze said:

The idea that healthy food is expensive is a myth.

I've become heavily into fitness over the past year, and my wallet feels a shitload lighter because I make most of my meals.


Does your wallet feel lighter because you're fitter or because you've actually spent more money over the past year making healthier meals? Please clarify.

Share this post


Link to post

In Australia you can get a bunch of bananas and a few apples for the price of one cheeseburger at McDonalds. Getting fat definitely costs a lot more than eating healthy does over here.

Share this post


Link to post
Dave The Daring said:

Does your wallet feel lighter because you're fitter or because you've actually spent more money over the past year making healthier meals? Please clarify.


Both, as they go hand in hand. I'm no longer going "Well I'm hungry, and McDonalds is right around the corner", and spending 6-7 bucks on a single meal when I could've made my own burgers for the same amount. I used to go to Dunkins every day and buy 2-3 coffees with the flavor syrups, now I roast my own coffee and carry it in a thermos.

Share this post


Link to post

Depends where you live, really. Over here it's cheaper to eat healthy, and hopefully it stays that way.

Share this post


Link to post
AndrewB said:

Starting with a conclusion and then looking for evidence to support it. Classic.


It's a public speaking course. I'm being graded on how i present my persuasive argument. The information doesnt need to be good.

Share this post


Link to post
Fulgrim said:

When it comes right down to it Organic food isn't all that better for you and the organic classification process in the US isn't as through and regulated as most people think.

For example in less its labeled 100% organic, the food is still being exposed to the same herbicides and pesticides as the rest of the food supply. Food only has to be a curtain percentage organic to receive the label,so anything not labeled 100% organic will still have a lot of the additives that the rest of the food supply does. A lot of organic food, especially meats are still produced in factory farms.

A lot of people get this idea that because something is labeled organic, it comes from someones family farm, has no additives and is not exposed to the same chemicals as the rest of the food supply. When in reality none of that is 100% true. In a lot of cases organic is simply a buzz word used to get people to pay more for food because its labeled as such.

If people honestly want the best quality of food they can get and want to ensure it's not coming out of a factory farm or being exposed to harsh chemicals, farming it themselves is still the only way to go.

That's not even counting most meat you eat is sick. Cows are supposed to eat grass, not fucking corn, top that with ridiculous vaccination and shit environment for livestock ... and sugar, a toxin, in EVERYTHING and it's no fucking wonder cancer is at absurd levels. Plus GMO vegetables that literally seep pesticides and are pretty much dead. If a person wants to be healthy grow a garden....oh wait, natural non-gmo seeds are illegal now.

Share this post


Link to post
Flesh420 said:

That's not even counting most meat you eat is sick. Cows are supposed to eat grass, not fucking corn, top that with ridiculous vaccination and shit environment for livestock ... and sugar, a toxin, in EVERYTHING and it's no fucking wonder cancer is at absurd levels. Plus GMO vegetables that literally seep pesticides and are pretty much dead. If a person wants to be healthy grow a garden....oh wait, natural non-gmo seeds are illegal now.


The scientific consensus regarding GMOs shows that they are very safe, and where is the evidence saying that non-GMO seeds are illegal? My local Trader Joe's has a rack full of them.

Share this post


Link to post
AndrewB said:

Starting with a conclusion and then looking for evidence to support it. Classic.

No, it's "starting with an obvious observation and looking for solid data to explain it". "Water is wet, why is that?" for example. You're confusing conclusion with observation.

Mr. Freeze said:

The idea that healthy food is expensive is a myth.

Yet it is, but not the reasons you think it is. It depends on who buys it.

When time is also factored in, it's a problem for poorer people working 2 jobs (heh), because most healthy food must be prepared.

Mr. Freeze said:

I buy my $2 carrots, $2 potatoes, $3 oatmeal, $3 yogurt, $5 chicken breast, and I get by on 1700 calories a day. Drink water, not milk, not soda. Not even fruit juice.


Yet fast food companies can get such items for nearly nothing. Why the huge markup?

Mr. Freeze said:

"B-but I don't want to eat the same thing every day!"

Tough titty. Do you want to lose weight or not?


Not eating can do the same thing. It's more of a "do you want to go to bed hungry or not" situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Flesh420 said:

That's not even counting most meat you eat is sick. Cows are supposed to eat grass, not fucking corn, top that with ridiculous vaccination and shit environment for livestock ... and sugar, a toxin, in EVERYTHING and it's no fucking wonder cancer is at absurd levels. Plus GMO vegetables that literally seep pesticides and are pretty much dead. If a person wants to be healthy grow a garden....oh wait, natural non-gmo seeds are illegal now.


But not everybody gets sick from such toxins. what if natural selection favors those who can safely metabolize toxins, preservatives, chemicals etc.? Just like once it favored those who could eat anything off the ground, complete with dirt, parassites, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Maes said:

But not everybody gets sick from such toxins. what if natural selection favors those who can safely metabolize toxins, preservatives, chemicals etc.? Just like once it favored those who could eat anything off the ground, complete with dirt, parassites, etc.


Note that around 80% (pulling this number from my ass) of the food we eat is toxic to most animals. We dig into avocado like it's the next wonder food yet it'll kill a cat in no time. The least it'll do to us is give us the Taco Bell runs.

The only "food" that can truly knock a human down are certain species of fish, mushrooms, and animal liver. Too much Vitamin A will fuck a person up.

Share this post


Link to post
Csonicgo said:

Yet fast food companies can get such items for nearly nothing. Why the huge markup?


Contracted purchases in bulk from suppliers willing to accept the lowest the bid. Contrast that with you walking into your neighborhood grocery store for a weeks supply.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×