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Fittingly Mad: Why Is It So Expensive to Be So Healthy?

Ever since I read about the recent talks on adding a fat tax to unhealthy foods in London, I can't get my mind off the fact that I already feel like there is a health tax on healthy foods (or anything health related really).

If I were to go to the grocery store and buy processed, prepackaged unhealthy foods, my bill would be significantly lower than if I were to buy fresh, organic healthy foods. This nation is apparently in such a health crisis with obesity and disease skyrocketing, you'd think that there would be some effort to make it less expensive to be healthy.

From my gym membership, to my pomegranate juice, to my probiotics, to my fresh (and wild) Alaskan salmon, my checking account definitely pays for it (no pun intended). For example, I recently converted my husband from Wheat Thins to Kashi Thins, which are about 2 dollars more a box at my local store. I always cringe when people call Whole Foods, whole paycheck, but it's true. What's more? It's nearly impossible to get coupons for healthy foods too! I never see them in the paper and I almost feel like it is frowned upon to try and use coupons at a health food store.

I understand there is way more that goes behind it than the price tags I am seeing, but something needs to be done. Being healthy should not be so taxing on our finances, it really shouldn't. Am I alone here?

lisa212 lisa212 10 years
"Being healthy should not be so taxing on our finances, it really shouldn't. Am I alone here?" Not at all. I absolutely agree.
sheri-b sheri-b 10 years
I think it's a shame that foods that have been totally adulterated are much cheaper than foods that are all natural and haven't had anything done to them. With the exception of farmers' markets, organics are ridiuclously expensive! I think government subsidies are in part to blame along with the supply/demand factor. But really, people can only take so much high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils before there's a problem!
Tari007 Tari007 10 years
Whole Foods is SO EXPENSIVE! Trader Joe's can get expensive as well... They really should do something about it, like offer discounts or coupons at the gym. I bet more people would work out and eat better!!!
DCStar DCStar 10 years
I totally agree with this! Another difficulty is that in my effort to eat healthy, I find that I need to visit the grocery store ALL THE TIME to pick up fresh produce, and it's so difficult to find the time every other day!
City-Love City-Love 10 years
I completely agree. this has been my greatest struggle in sticking to a diet or healthy eating lifestyle. i cant afford it. sigh. it is so frustrating.
ButterflyTiff ButterflyTiff 10 years
I am right there with you! When you are on a budget it can be really hard to reason w/ yourself that it is okay to spend $2 a pound for tomatoes or $3 a pound for peppers. And berries - forget about it - a pint can be $4
Pink_Lipstick Pink_Lipstick 10 years
I totally agree and I hate when diet books and websites tell you it's just an excuse when you say healthy food is too expensive. For instance, I attend school full-time and my fiance` works late and sometimes we don't have time to cook, so we'll grab something on our way home. It costs us about $10 to eat at Wendy's (where we eat large french fries and chicken sandwiches), but it costs us almost $20 to eat at Subway (where we eat healthy veggie or turkey subs).
ShedItandGetIt ShedItandGetIt 10 years
As a poor college student, this drives me CRAZY. I can eat the food provided and gain the Freshman 15 and then some, or buy my own cheese, salad dressing, bread, etc. and be broke. And a gym membership isn't cheap either! It's so frustrating.
Misskastar Misskastar 10 years
Ok I just saw Sicko last night so I am on a whole, "the man is out to keep us unhealthy for profit" rampage, so I 100% agree that it is frustrating to pay more to be healthy. But aside from that I have always found this to be true. Even more frustrating is that it is not always coincidence. Granted, some healthy foods must be expensive because of the way they are made, planted, grown, whatever. But our country should make more of an effort to keep healthy foods affordable to the general public ie all economic groups not just those that can afford it. I hate to bring up other countries but in many other places in the world this is a concern (such as London). If we are not going to have adequate preventive health care we should have healthy, delicious foods to afford!!!
lovekailua lovekailua 10 years
you are not alone! i am living mostly off of loans in law school and i hate how much stuff costs :( i tried the local farmers market for fruit but it closed for the summer (too hot in FL). it trickles down to my dog too...i want to feed her the healthy innova and california natural but i cant afford it anymore :(
muchacha muchacha 10 years
i'm going to check out the link posted by cs, but i think that as organic "healthy" food grows in popularity, the prices will hopefully go down. Laws of supply and demand I guess. Meanwhile, I'm hoping to start my own garden next summer!
discocactus discocactus 10 years
First of all, I completely agree with icepop. Second, I'm not convinced everything has to be organic for it to be healthy. There can be a minimal difference between an organic fruit vs. a "non-organic". This isn't the case with all produce but some-I believe MSN had an article about this awhile ago. I think there's a huge middle ground being ignored between McDonald's hamburger and organic apple. And as far as the cost, I often think people have forgotten about the industrial revolution and how it allowed us to produce all kind of goods in mass-including the production of bigger and better produce that we can eat out of season, like tomatoes in January.
cs cs 10 years
This is a good link as to why organic costs more.
audreystar audreystar 10 years
yes it isn't fair at all and needs to be changed.
amandaaa amandaaa 10 years
this enrages me!! this is another reason why it's hard for people to eat healthier: it's too expensive. for example, it's way easier to order the $1.00 cheeseburger from the fast food place than spend $4.00+ for the healthier salad. wtf? and once at my job, a customer asked me this once: if organic food has nothing added to it (pesticides, whatever), then why is is more expensive than regular food? at my job, i'm known as the girl who knows everything about dieting. i was taken aback. but it makes sense, right? they add nothing but charge more. and how else is healthy taxing? gym clothes, equipment, like Fit said, memberships, buying a bike...why must it be so expensive to just be healthy? it's cheaper to live an unhealthy lifestyle! you pay less for food and don't spend much of anything when you sit on the couch!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
That irritates me more about leading a healthy lifestyle more than anything. We all have one life to live, and does the quality and quantity of it have to come with a pricetag?
lemurian lemurian 10 years
I agree. We need to campaign for organic subsidies or something! But you cannot put a cost on health -- I don't have health insurance, and it turns out I don't need it because I eat fresh organic foods (including lots of local grass fed red meat!) exclusively. When you look at it from the perspective of health being your number one priority, it doesn't seem so expensive after all.
Julie2812 Julie2812 10 years
I couldn't agree more. Injustice..
icepop icepop 10 years
It can seem like being healthy and fit is a mark of the privileged elite – almost a status symbol. Chips, cookies, and other cheap carbohydrate-based packaged products have become modern-day peasant food. That doesn’t necessarily mean only the working-class poor must suffer the most obesity. A person can still eat cheap food and be relatively healthy– it’s just a matter of what type and how much cheap food is consumed. And, a person doesn’t need a posh fitness club or private pilates sessions to stay fit – just sneakers and a willingness to walk or move the body in some way. Any individual, regardless of income level, can choose to take responsibility for his or her own dietary intake and fitness. Having more money just makes it easier, but it makes many things easier, no?
Neural Neural 10 years
I completely agree. There are times when I simply cannot afford the healthier alternatives. I try very hard to always make sure I buy healthier versions of things for my daughter b/c I want her to have the best chance and sometimes I think, "Well, I'm already a lost cause!"
vivalasvegas vivalasvegas 10 years
Try shopping for produce at farmer's markets. I live in San Francisco, and even the super gourmet farmer's market is often cheaper than Safeway, the big local chain of grocery stores. Not only is the produce fresher and tastier, but you can also talk to the people who actually grow your food, and you can rest easy knowing that your organic lettuce didn't come to your local Whole Foods from 1000 miles away. (Cause honestly, it sort of defeats the purpose if you're buying organic food that comes from far away!) I also shop at ethnic markets on occasion, as they also tend to carry fresh local produce at rates far cheaper than WF or the supermarket. Healthy processed foods, however, are more expensive, which is just further reason to avoid them as much as possible anyway.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 10 years
This is so true!
purrtykitty purrtykitty 10 years
THANK YOU for someone finally saying it! i find it ridiculous that anything fresh and/or organic (produce, meat, seafood...etc.) is wildly expensive. i cringe everytime my husband and i go to the grocery store. i'm lucky that my gym membership isn't so bad, but with the gas prices the way they are, it's costing me an arm and a leg to get there!!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
It shouldn't cost me what it does to buy healthy food for myself. But it does. Esp if I go as frequently as i would like for veggies and fruit as often as I would like.
krisua krisua 10 years
Oh this is SO VERY TRUE. It's much cheaper to live on fatty fast foods.
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