Are Healthy Foods REALLY More Expensive?

A new study finds that healthy foods are three
times more expensive than unhealthy foods. You know what, screw this, I’m going to
McDonalds. Hey guys, Tara here for Dnews – and I dunno
about you guys, but one of the excuses people always love to give for eating like crap,
is that it’s more expensive to eat healthy than it is to eat unhealthy. And naturally,
I assumed it was just that – an excuse. But apparently, it’s actually true – and according
to a new study out of the UK, healthy food is three times more expensive per calories,
than less healthy foods. Who knew? This was a study published recently in PLOS
One, that tracked the prices of 94 key food and beverage items from 2002 to 2012. Now
to clarify, these are foods you would find at any supermarket – so we’re not talking
about McDonalds or Taco Bell, which are definitely more expensive. These are foods specifically
used by the UK’s Office of National Statistics, to measure the rate of inflation year over
year. Researchers then matched the prices of those
foods, with their caloric content – and classified them as either healthy or unhealthy, based
on their nutritional value. What they found, is that not only have the
prices of food risen in the UK faster than the price of other goods, healthy foods specifically
have experienced a much sharper price hike in recent years: about $2.95 for every thousand
calories, compared to unhealthy foods which have only risen $1.17 in the same amount of
time. So each year, healthy foods are getting progressively more expensive. And studies
from other high-income nations have found similar results. Obviously, for countries with obesity epidemics,
like the US and especially the UK, where obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable
deaths, it’s important that people realize the effects of eating unhealthily. According
to the National Health Service, diet-related health problems cost an estimated 9 trillion
dollars every year. But for households that are straddling the
poverty line, it can be difficult to convince people that spending more money now on eating
healthy, will actually pay off in the long run. So the researchers in this study, are calling
on public health officials to address the rising prices of healthy foods, in hopes that
they’ll regulate them – and provide subsidies to those in need – for the good of the nation’s
health. What do you guys think? Especially those of
you on a tight budget – does the price of food influence how healthy you eat? Let us
know your thoughts in the comments below – and as always, thank you guys for watching!

100 Replies to “Are Healthy Foods REALLY More Expensive?”

  1. Quality over quantity.
    It's not so much the total calories of the food that matters, but rather where those calories come from.
    For example there is protein, carbohydrates (simple vs. complex), and fats that make up the macronutrient content of food. A larger amount of bad fats (saturated) and processed carbs are used in unhealthy food.

    Foods that are cheaper and unhealthy most likely contain a much higher fat and processed carb content, with lower amounts of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. As these food are cheaper to produce.
    Fat is 9 calories per gram. Compared to protein and carbs, which are both 4 calories per gram.

    Unhealthy foods commonly contain a lot of fat, therefore more calories. Not to mention fat is much cheaper compared to a healthier macronutrient like protein.

    You can't compromise on food. The quality of the food you eat will determine the quality of your overall health. Eat healthy, and stay away from cheap unhealthy food. Healthy food costs more because it's quality. Quality always costs more than quantity.

  2. It's unfortunate how unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food. Although, there are many tricks to not spend too much money and eat healthy, like buying seasonal fruits and vegetables, cooking more, not buying the latest iPhone/iPad…

  3. the price and the lack of food… ( almost all is gmo food . poison food)
    carrots: 2 dolars let say
    organic carrots : 6 dolars its like triple the price
    if you can find any organics where i live good luck… brazil 

  4. It influences by a lot !! I have a tight budget (very tight ) and i can't afford almost anything that's healthy…. I hate that.

  5. According to this study, healthy foods are 3X more expensive PER CALORIE than junk foods.  This is no surprise to me since healthy foods contain much less calories per gram than junk food.  Almost without fats, transfats, sugars etc., of course they will cost more than junk.  If we want to eat many calories per dollar, or if we despair that healthy foods cost soooo much per calorie, let us compare Coca Cola with kale, and this will prove that we are absolutely right.

    Dollars per 1000 calories : Coke: $0.522 ; kale: $25.510 (on 20 oct. 2014 in Montréal)

    So we see that kale is not 3 times, but 48.81 times costlier than Coke per calorie.  So we should take daily 48.81 times more coke than kale, shouldn't we?  (All right : forget about anemia, digestive troubles, infarctus and diabetes!)

    Now let us compare the content of 100 grammes of Coke et 100 grammes of Kale.
    gr means grammes, mg is milligrammes, % is % of daily need for an adult, $ is dollars.

    Coke     Kale    Unit   Ingredient
    264       10        gr      Carbohydrates
    189,8    10        gr      Sugars
    421       49                 calories per 100 grammes
    26         2          %      Sodium (the main cause of arteriosclerosis)

    0           308      %      Vitamin A
    0           200      %      Vitamin C
    0           1021    %      Vitamin K
    0           7          %      Thiamin
    0           8          %      Riboflavin
    0           5          %      Niacin
    0           14        %      Vitamin B6
    0           8          %      Magnesium
    0           14        %      Calcium
    0           9          %      Assimilable iron
    0           6          %      Phosphorus
    0           3          %      Zinc
    0           14        %      Copper
    0           39        %      Manganese
    0           1          %      Selenium
    0           180      mg    Omega 3
    0           138      mg    Omega 6
    0           2100    mg    Dietary fibers
    161.45  0.00     $       Medication for diabetes per year (Metformin)
    322.98  0.00     $       "One Touch" needles and bandelettes for the measure of glycemia for diabetes in one year
    627.25  0.00     $       Heart medication (Plavix) for obesity for one year

    Need I say more?

  6. Yep, these last few months I have gone gluten and sugar free and I'm spending way more money to get healthier options – it's a total rip-off!  It will be wonderful if healthier foods become  regulated.

  7. well, it does make sense that healthier foods would cost more per calorie, as they tend to have less in total, taking into account the mostly fibre vegetables and alternatives. not to mention omega, free run and organic foods all run the healthy food scam.

  8. Buy dried beans and bagged rice in bulk. Buy canned food when it's on sale. Buy frozen vegetables, which are exponentially healthier than fresh foods, because they're flash frozen. These are cheap ways to eat healthily.

  9. That is nonsense because I purchase all my groceries, which includes chicken for under 50 dollars, and I do my grocery shopping every other week. I make meal plans and purchase food for only those meals. I stick to only raw produce and meat. It really isn't difficult to eat healthy at an affordable price. It is a matter of priority. I want to eat healthy, and so I do. 

  10. Very well said. Though I try to grow some veggies at home, I'm aware not everyone has this option available… The problem is that in the "poor" neighbourhoods, junk food will be much more accessible than normal/healthy food. Sometimes you have to walk miles to get fresh fruits or vegetables in some areas. Reminds me of Africa, where you could walk for a few hours to get drinking water, then you end up drinking the closer one, and get sick.

  11. the problem in America is that the government give subsidies to corn(corn is used to make lots of processed foods) but not vegetables and fruits. 

  12. All you have to do is track the stock prices of stocks like Whole Foods who recognize the social trend to live healthier lifestyles… and thus raise their prices.

    It's also because corn is subsidized and is so cheap to produce, that it goes into a ridiculous amount of foods. We don't subsidize spinach because it doesn't preserve well, and can't feed the masses…

  13. Per Calorie? Thats a really fucking shitty way to sort it man.

    Pizza looks fanfuckingtastic next to something like celery. Calorie wise.

  14. I'm surprised this isn't common knowledge. Of course a person's finances are directly tied to their eating habits. We make these choices whenever we go to the supermarket because fitting stuff into a limited budget is tricky work.

  15. That isn't accurate, taking in consideration the volume per calorie. A 100gr of pizza has a lot more calories than a 100gr of quinoa salad, so on a regular lunch, you get less calories for the same volume. Then is not that much expensive at all.
    Unhealthy food is cheaper because it's made by big companies which produce in mass, and also lower the price they pay for the source product (farmers and others).

    I follow a simple rule, if the food has more than 1 layer of packaging I'm not eating it.

  16. WTF it makes no sense to use calories to compare the prices. One of the characteristics of bad food is high calories. So yeah, they'll always be "cheaper".

  17. i think the point you were trying to make that eating healthy ends up costing you less couldve been conveyed a little better. I notice also that now that im eating better, im less hungry and dont feel the need to snack (calories from unhealthy shit end up making me just want more food at random times, where as when i have a really well rounded healthy meal im pretty much good til the next one or longer.)

  18. Heck yeah it's more expensive to eat healthy! I bought a bag of grapes yesterday and it came out to $7! Screeeeew that price. I'll still buy them because I care about my health.. So yes the higher price is worth it. It sucks but what can we do?? Vegan for life!

  19. It's the boots theory. You'r boots just broke, and you only have $20 to spare on new boots. Shitty boots cost $10, good boots cost $30. The shitty boots only last about 6 months, while the good boots last 2 years. While the cost of boots now puts the shitty boots as cheaper, in two years, the good boots are cheaper. It might make more sense in the long term to wait until you can afford the good boots, but you need boots now. So you get the shitty boots.

  20. I'm unclear on one thing… was this video talking about restaurant food or groceries? Because that makes a difference. Eating healthy at ANY restaurant anywhere is more costly. That is simple fact.

    However, buying healthy groceries is not necessarily a financial death sentence. How much is a bag of apples? A few stalks of celery? A bag of potatoes? Cilantro, mint, coriander, garlic, etc.. $4 maybe? Vegetables (pardon the pun) are dirt cheap. Most fruit are affordable as well.

    Cooking vs buying is an important distinction that needs to be made here.

  21. Why is this news?
    Haven't you ever wondered why poor people often tend to be fat? What did you think? That they just spent all their money on food?
    All you have to do is go to the store and compare the price of a Lean Cuisine to a comparably sized microwave dinner.
    But, hey. I'm glad it's official now.

  22. Healthier foods have less calories. If burger is 500 calories and a carrot is 5 calories then you would need 100 carrots to equal the calories of a burger. Naturally 100 carrots is going to cost more than a burger. So yea the cost per calorie of healthy foods is going to be more expensive.

  23. 10 pound bags of rice and whole beans are dirt cheap. Produce bought in bulk is cheap. For example bananas…they've got to be most nutritious yet cheap fruit on the planet. Today I bought 5lbs of pinto beans for $2.50 and a 5lb bag of rice for $3.50. People are simply full of excuses and just want to eat what they want to eat and QUICK. Yawn 

  24. After the first minute of the video I discovered that the study was flawed. If you don't believe me then let me prove it to you. A 4 pack box of poptarts costs $3-$4 conservatively. A 5 pound bag of rice costs 11.17 (based on the last bag I looked at) but for ease of math, we will round it up to $12. Keep in mind I'm already rounding to make the 'healthy food' more expensive. Divide by 3 to make the costs even and you get 1.67 pounds of rice for $4. That much uncooked rice will make 33.75 cups of cooked rice! That would last most people for weeks. Here is where the flaw is: 3/4 cup of cooked jasmine rice (standard serving size) has 42g of carbs and 3g proten (180 Cal). A pack of poptarts has 70g carbs, 2g protein, 7g fat (351 Cal). It's not that unhealthy foods are cheaper. It's that they are more calorie dense. I could use the same example for chicken versus chicken nuggets or any other healthy vs unhealthy food.

  25. What??
    It is just that, more expensive per calorie!
    So you can pay the same and get less calories, which is kind of the point of eating healthy, and as you said, most of the time overweight people are the ones who are considering starting a healthier diet.
    Plus you get more nutritional value out of it.

    It comes down to this, in the long run it is not more expensive, also because money is not the only thing with which you pay.

  26. Not in Germany. If you have a kitchen and know how to use it, you can get along pretty healthy without spending a shitload of money. Still i agree that more money indeed makes it easier to live a healthier lifestyle in general.

  27. here in norway, they remove some taxes on healthy food so that they are cheaper in comparison to other foods. they should do that in the us too. or actually, i doubt there are any taxes on food whatsoever there, but if there is, it is definitely something that should be done.

  28. Tight budget here, but I pay close attention to sales in the local stores, clip coupons and am a member of (mostly) free discount programs (there are apps available, programs with local stores – those sorts of things). We can't afford to eat organic, or to shop exclusively at locally owned shops, and I'm not exactly a super-couponer or anything, but I do make a point of ensuring we get what we need with minimal processed foods. Plus, I'm always looking for ways to save money elsewhere without going overboard.

    BUT it's also important to realize that not everyone has the same resources, so junk food might be far more affordable for some people than healthy food. Each situation is different, especially when you take regional prices/product availability into account, and this particular issue isn't as simple as some folks try making it out to be.

  29. The UK is not the whole world and the food sample size is way too small. Finding cheap, healthy food is NOT hard. Quit giving people excuses.

  30. If you're talking organic, fresh and unfrozen fruits and veggies and things, then yes it can be. You can get buy spending less on food at a McDonald's than a grocery store… if you count calories and take the nutrition like protein content into account. However, for me… That still makes me feel like crap eating that stuff. I go to the grocery store and buy $1 packs of frozen vegetable mixes (the green giant ones that actually contain good, healthy veggies and minimal amounts of sodium) (also in some cases, frozen and microwaved veggies is actually healthier for you than the "fresh" ones sitting out), a loaf of whole wheat bread for about $3, some chunky peanut butter, some $0.60 cups of fruit-filled yogurt, some $1.50 veggie soups and turkey chilis and maybe some other things. I may spend $40 per week on groceries and I'm eating the appropriate amount of calories per day. I've actually lost weight and I'm eating more than I was before in terms of amount of food for the similar caloric intake. It's all about making good choices.

  31. they don't explain why healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy and talk about subsidies as if big food corps don't get them already. Misleading info on this Vid!! 

  32. The reason it's getting more expensive is because there is low demand! If people started buying the healthy foods they would become cheaper, if they are not bought they just get more expensive and everything gets worse.

  33. I think you need to be creative by using the unhealthy things as staples in your healthy life style. Use them in moderation to add taste or, to act as substance to meals. Living here in America I have noticed that our sizes of food, and the amount of un healthy things we eat are ridiculous.  I mean.. Costco.. come on. 

  34. We would all eat healthy if we could. There is enough food to do this but not enough sharing. My biological mother could barely afford to fill our plates with the cheapest food yet now my foster parents put more food in the garbage than their mouths. They buy more than they need and throw out the rest. This is more than just a problem.

  35. I dunno why they had to do a study to figure this out…just go to the grocery store with a couple planned meals and see if you don't end up spending a whole bunch more if you try to eat healthy…its crazy annoying

  36. In my country, that crap fast food is more expensive than our regularly grown food, and it is being marketed as better/cooler/BS witch is sick and hilarious at the same time. Having talked to and even dating an american for a while, I found out you people have no idea whatsoever what you eat. So selling you anything with a sticker saying 'fresh', 'natural', 'healthy' is a no-brainer.

    For example, when I go to McDonalds a few times a year, I regularly open the burger from the top and discard the tomato. It is the most awful, no-taste tomato I have ever tried, and the pickles are just cardboard. At that moment my american friend reached for the tomato and gobbled it whole while I was pleading to her not to do it. When I asked why on Earth she would eat such a thing, she said: 'What do you think we ate back there? It's fine.'. From that point on I never took her to McD again in 6 years. Same with regular jogurt, yours is just a flour ridden putty of nasty, and you have to go across town to an 'organic shop' or whatnot to buy some 3 times the cost. Hilarious.

  37. "Does the price of food influence how healthy you eat?"
    Yes. Yes it does, and I hate it. But of course, as you say, when you're a low income person, there's not really a lot you can do about it.

    I purposefully stay away from "fast food" and I try my best to buy whatever cheapest healthy foods I can get my hands on, but it really doesn't make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things, it's either starve, or eat less healthy. Unless the government does something to actively lower the cost of eating healthy, low income earners diets are pretty much screwed.

  38. If its not expensive, then how do you explain most people are convinced healthy eating is expensive?Are they brainwashed or just negative?

  39. well it was one of the reason where i would buy healthy good
    there's a certain threshold where i am not gonna spend ridiculous amount of money for so little fruits and veggies

    not gonna spend 6 bucks for a small box of berries or 3 bucks for one cucumber

  40. Study is BS… A snickers is much more expensive per pound than a banana, a bag of potato chips are still more per lb than a bag of sweet potatoes..

  41. I just heard they're going to be cutting out food stamps to lots of people in several states within the next few months. I wonder if that will lead to more weight gain.

  42. I just bought a bundle of spinach, some berries grapes some greens for 30 bucks! I couldve bought a lot of junk food but I'm trying to eat healthier

  43. at my local grocery store you can buy.
    3 frozen pizzas
    one family size box of fish sticks
    enought meat bread and cheese for 10 sandwiches
    and cereal and a 1/2 gallon of milk
    for $25
    you can buy
    2 servings of fresh salmon
    one bag of fresh broccoli
    one bag of wild long Brian rice
    and a lemon
    for $25
    so one dinner for two,
    or a weeks worth for (junk/cheap) food for 2.

    I like to find the middle ground
    like frozen broccoli and frozen salmon. its better then pizzas and it cost a less.
    frozen fish, frozen steamed broccoli, and a bag or white rice is about $8
    and my hubby and I can eat off it for 2 dinners. so $8 for 4 servings.
    but for us. fresh is for salads on the side and that's about all we can afford

  44. thanks to God i leave in India vegies cost less ……nice fresh food …..medical and health care are cheaper …….only have to pay more for cars bikes and electronic items….

  45. One must eat homemade food to be healthy. I only order food in a restaurant which is too time consuming or challenging to make at home, like pizza and chalupas. Sandwiches are a lazy person's food, hence it can be made at home.

  46. Healthy foods and reasonable prices may come together.

  47. This doesn't take into account all of the empty calories. If it takes more food to give you the same nutritional value, then you are really paying the same.

  48. Living as a student… everything but potatoes was fucking expensive to me. Mostly I ate was rice and potatoes… You can imagine how well that went. You can't spend money "now" when you don't have them.

  49. OMG THANK YOU. Everyone I talk to who eats healthy and I tell them I can't because it's too expensive, they always say it's not true. I want to eat healthy and take better care of my body, but my mom refuses to spend the money on the organic, natural and healthy foods! I've always noticed that whenever I want to start being more healthy, she immediately shuts me down and says that it's "too expensive." Which it is!! The things that are more healthy and better for us are the ones that are more expensive. Also, it's hard to try to eat healthy when no one else in your does or even lets you. Whenever we go shopping for groceries, and I try to ask my mom for the more healthy things, she says that they are too expensive and tells me to put them back. But then she goes around and spends more money on junk food, and getting way too much food and candy and junk! It makes me so mad because I feel like I don't want to disobey or cost her anymore money, but I feel that I'm not getting the nutrients I need to grow and be healthy. I just wish it were the other way around- that healthy food was super cheap and junk food was super expensive.

  50. what people fail to consider is all the costs associated with eating healthy, including your time spent preparing the food, the dishes, clean up, fridge and freezer expenses, etc. you don't have to worry about those expenses if you eat out or buy something premade.

    your time does have a price, it represents how much it costs you to not be working/earning during that time.

    I don't know if calories is the best way to measure the cost of food, but there's a lot more to the cost of healthy living that just the price tag.

  51. I totally agree. Healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy food. I probably rather switch to foreign food like Tai food or Mexican food. I think there cheaper in a long run

  52. False. Maybe calorically true, but not by meal. You eat more when you eat junk because it’s nutriently less dense so you need more to feel full. When you’re eating real food you feel satiated much faster. Dollar per meal is far less when eating healthy food.

  53. We always say "per calorie" but I feel like that's misleading.
    It should be more like "per satisfying meal" or something. Like yea beans, rice, and veggies may only be 500 cals or whatver vs 1000-1500 from a fast food burger, fries, and soda, But that doesn't mean that it's the worse option. Those calories in junk food don't come with much if any nutritional value like vitamins, fiber, etc. If you think of it as $/nutrients then the healthier option ends up being the cheaper one. Not to mention health care costs down the line…

  54. So if we lower the cost of healthy food below the price of unhealthy foods, will there still be an obesity issue? I think so. Prove me wrong?

  55. What utter nonsense. How much does a tin of sardines cost? The healthiest animal protein you can buy. People just don't have the self-discipline to eat healthy, and won't admit it.

  56. If I bought 1 lb of celery it would only have about 70 calories. A big Mac weighs less than half a pound and is about 560 calories. So it may be true that per calorie junk food is cheaper. But you can get much more food overall by buying cheaper healthy food.

  57. Well in you account all healthy foods people buy such as snacks from the checkout line or that expensive coffee or eating takeout it costs more to eat unhealthy. Healthier foods are actually more filling and you can go online find recipes and learn how to cook healthy plus still have leftovers for the week so there are so many resources, yet people still find excuses to eat junk food.

  58. I agree that this comparison is quite strange (dollar/cent pr. calorie). This guy is kind of strange, but I do like his message regarding inexpensive healthy foods.

  59. A ridiculous finding while most ppl are eating way much more "cheap/bad" calories than they actually need (/burn up) which leads to the problem of obesity in a socitey…

  60. I’ve got some theories why:
    .Unhealthy foods tend to have a higher number of calories so the price per calorie is low
    .Parts of unhealthy foods such as oils and salts are subsidised
    .Loads of people like unhealthy foods such as fast food because it’s convenient so it’s mass produced which causes a bigger economy of scale and lower prices

  61. What utter rubbish. The healthiest animal protein you can buy is a tin of sardines. $1.50. One carrot. One stick of celery. One slice of wholemeal bread. That's lunch.
    Those who claim eating healthy is more expensive, simply have no self-discipline. That's right; you are just weak.

  62. What exactly is Fenoboci Diet Plan? How does this thing really work? I see lots of people keep on speaking about this popular weight loss methods.

  63. Does Custokebon Secrets (google it) help me lost a lot of weight? I see many people keep on speaking about this popular weight loss method.

  64. Hi! Thank you for this helpful video. By the way, I notice a lot of people keep on talking about Custokebon Secrets (google search it), but I'm not sure if it is really good. Have you tried Custokebon Secrets? I've heard several great things about it and my mate lost a ton of weight with it, but she refuses to tell me 🙁

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