Infographic: The Cost of Healthy Food
Last week, we wrote about new study findings that suggested that the cost of eating a healthy diet might be prohibitive for lower-income Americans. But are highly processed, high calorie junk foods really less expensive than natural whole foods? Yes, according to this infographic from The Ration, which compares the prices and calorie content of 30 supermarket foods based on typical serving size.
The infographic was inspired by a 2004 study conducted by University of Washington obesity researcher Adam Drewnowski. He found that a dollar could purchase 1,200 calories worth of cookies or potato chips, but only 250 calories worth of carrots. Similarly, Drewnowski found that while a dollar could get you 875 calories if you spent it on soda, it could only get you 170 calories if you chose orange juice. The Ration’s findings were similar:
Processed convenience foods and snack foods generally cluster towards the low cost and high calorie, high sodium, and high sugar section of the graph, while more nutritious and lower calorie options, like fresh meat and vegetables, fall on the expensive end of the spectrum.
Interesting data for sure, but obviously, it doesn’t present a complete picture of the “true” cost of food by any stretch. For one thing, it doesn’t factor in the potential cost (in health care bills, missed work, etc.) of eating highly processed foods rather than nutritious whole foods.
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Article updated on: August 11th, 2011