One of the biggest debates in the nutrition and fitness industry today is that of the cost of healthy foods versus unhealthy foods. Many individuals argue that eating healthy food costs too much, therefore it is not a feasible option for their family. However, several recent studies have shown that the true cost of eating cheap, processed foods is actually much higher than eating healthy ones.
A group of researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have determined that even the healthiest diets only cost about $1.50 more per day than an unhealthy one. The main price difference seems to come from meat products, such as lean beef and fish. Make one day out of the week a meat-free day, and you can lower your food cost even more, A tasty, healthful vegetable quiche makes a wonderful protein packed inexpensive meal.
Another study that was published in the British Medical Journal showed that per serving, healthier options in the meat group only cost about $0.29 more per serving than unhealthy processed meats. When it comes to carbohydrate choices (such as rice or pasta dishes), healthier options only cost $0.03 more per serving.
Individuals on a budget may think that these small increases in price is an excuse to buy cheaper foods. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School states: If you compare the very small increase in price of healthy foods to the actual costs of food related chronic diseases, individuals would realize that the cost of eating an unhealthy diet is so much higher than a healthy one.
Also, there are many hidden costs of consuming unhealthy foods such as food related illnesses (heart disease, cancer and diabetes) and the global obesity epidemic. Health insurance companies are raising their premiums higher and higher every year in order to offset the cost of treating these illnesses. All of these can be greatly lessened or even avoided simply by following a healthy diet.