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February 17, 2014

Does it Cost More to Eat Healthy?

VegetablesWhat Does it Cost to Eat Healthy?

Like just about everything else of value, eating healthy will cost you more.  At least, that is what the results from this study published in the British Medical Journal revealed.  Based on a review of 27 studies the researchers concluded that it costs about $1.56 more a day to eat healthy or a $569 more a year. Probably well worth the additional cost when you factor the health care costs of eathing unhealthy.

This study is a meta-analysis and provides the most complete evidence on the price differences of eating healthier foods

The biggest price differences were for meats and proteins which tend to be the most costly of all food groups to begin with. Smaller, but still statistically significantly, differences were noted for grains, dairy, snacks/sweets (apparently some are healthy), and fats/oils.

The study also revealed that the final retail prices of domestically produced food are largely determined by the middle men that exist in the food supply chain between the farmer and the consumer. For every dollar spent on domestically produced food in the US fourteen cents goes to the farmer. So much of the expense of eating healthier foods can be eliminated by growing some produce at home – possibly making it more affordable to eat healthy for price sensitive consumers.

Costs of Unhealthy Eating

Don’t want to pay for the extra price to eat healthy?  Consider the costs of eating unhealthy.

Nutrition plays an important role in the development of nearly every chronic disease like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. It’s been determined that unhealthy diets alone account for 14% of all disability-adjusted years in the US. This does not account for the health care costs of treating these diseases.

How much does it cost to be on medications needed day after day, month after month, year after year to treat these diseases? Factor the costs of seeing a doctor at regular intervals and the lab work and other diagnostic studies needed to monitor treatment and you can’t help but conclude that an extra $569 a year is a relative drop in the bucket to avoid a poorer state of health and quality of life that comes from eating unhealthy.

It may cost more to eat healthy, but in the end it costs less than eating unhealthy (one of those oxymorons or Yogi Berra-isms).

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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