Healthy Food Is as Cheap as Junk Food

According to a new government analaysis, healthy foods are actually the same price as junk foods

Sure, organic food may be super expensive, but a new government report shows that healthy food is just as cheap as, and sometimes cheaper than, junk food.

Carrots, onions, beans, lettuce, mashed potatoes, bananas, and orange juice are reportedly less expensive than soft drinks, ice cream, chocolate, french fries, and deep-fried chicken patties.

AP reports that past studies comparing price per calorie ratings may show that higher-calorie junk food may seem like a bargain. When comparing price by portion size or weight, however, grains, vegetables, fruit, and dairy are cheaper than meats or fatty foods.

"Using price per calorie doesn't tell you how much food you're going to get or how full you are going to feel," lead author Andrea Carlson said.

A 2010 report from the University of Washington found that when comparing calories, a junk food diet is more cost-effective than eating healthy. "Some of these calories are in fact empty calories, so from the standpoint of nutrition they are not terrific, but the empty calories keep you from being hungry," University of Washington's Adam Drewnowski said.

From a nutrition perspective, however, the cheaper food without nutrients may be more expensive with the side effects of obesity, heart problems, and more.

As for cost, the study found that grains are the cheapest foods no matter what. But even so, "The price of potato chips is nearly twice as expensive as the price of carrots by portion size," Carlson said.

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