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High Cost of Good Nutrition

While the recession is affecting many wallets in America, did you know that cutting back on the cost of food doesn't necessarily mean cutting calories? Nutrient rich foods are generally more expensive. The LA Times reports that "sugar in fresh raspberries is 100 times more expensive per calorie than table sugar." There is no argument that raspberries, chock full of fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients are healthier than table sugar. But as the price of cheap food declines, we buy more of it, and cheaper foods are generally higher in calories and lower in calories.

Here's another statistic to chew on: between 2004 and 2006, the prices of very-high-calorie foods dropped by an average of 1.8 percent, while the prices of very-low-calorie foods went up by an average of 19.5 percent. However, we are spending less on food than the previous year.

To see how our restaurant habits have changed,


When it comes to eating out, we are changing our habits as well. A survey from September 2008 found that Americans are eating out less, ordering less when they do eat at a restaurant, and eating at less expensive restaurants. It is unsurprising that folks are also eating leftovers, packing lunches, and choosing tap water over soda, which is a healthy change I can support. For details on these stats, read this LA Times article. But before you do, tell me has the recession affected your nutrition?


Join The Conversation
becoming-brina becoming-brina 8 years
My nutrition probably balances out to be the same, or possibly better than it was before. I'm replacing expensive snacks and breakfast food with fruit, using bulk dried foods instead of sodium-heavy canned foods, and not spending as much money (or calories) on alcohol or sweets. The one thing i really miss is being able to use fresh veggies all the time; these days i really only buy fresh sweet potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, avocados, aromatics and lettuce, and most everything else is frozen.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I don't know about you guys, but I don't buy raspberries because of the sugar in them, so I could really care less that the sugar in them is 100x as expensive as table sugar. I haven't noticed that my grocery bills have gone up at all, actually. I do buy nutritious foods, but I don't buy many convenience/processed/frozen foods. Fruits, veggies, eggs, yogurt, potatoes, etc. are not that expensive in comparison to premade frozen entrees or canned soups.
nia0nia nia0nia 8 years
Re only so cute and blue puppy i presumed there was a little mistake in the sentence and it should read 'But as the price of cheap food declines, we buy more of it, and cheaper foods are generally higher in calories and lower in NUTRIENTS.'
darc5204 darc5204 8 years
It is true that refined flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and ground beef are cheap relative to healthier alternatives. It is also true that eggs, beans, and frozen veggies are cheap. Unfortunately, the people I see in grocery stores are still buying plenty of soda, beer, and cookies, all of which are unnecessary.
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
DeviousMuse, I feel like so many people I know are doing the same thing. Another thing I found useful are crockpots (even though I don't have one right now.) They are pretty much the greatest invention ever.
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 8 years
I've been trying to be more cost-conscious of my grocery bills -- and when I cook at home, I tend to make larger batches of things that work great as leftovers so I can eat it over the course of a week -- chili, spaghetti sauces, soups, etc., and then just add in a fresh salad.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I almost never eat out at this point, maybe once a month at most, and I always feel a little guilty about it so it's barely worth it. As for the grocery store, I've stopped buying processed food almost entirely and my bills have gone way down. I cook almost every day, and I'm definitely eating healthier too, so I guess I'm the opposite of the article.
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
Food is so expensive. I never understood the fact that we have to pay for water, since it is a necessity to live. Either way, I was spending an average of $45 a week on groceries.. then i started eating primarily eggs, fruits and vegetables... now i spend about $25 a week.. which is funny because I always thought eating smarter was more expensive- but i guess i'm just thinking of the GREEN food geeks that will only shop at whole foods and spend $100 a week on groceries... but i must admit, i eat much LESS this year than last year, AND i rarely eat out because of the fact that i really have no social life. ( i made the mistake of moving to a new town for an internship AND taking my masters online... so i only see friends when i travel now... tearrrrr.)
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well - i think that it's something that we've seen in a lot of different things not just food. that you think that if you cut costs on things that you're doing better for yourself but in reality, it's sometimes worth it in the long run to pay a little more and get lucky about not having to replace something. as for the food thing - i do agree that there are many instances when paying more for things gives you more nutrients and things like that - it's just a matter now of scouting out the best deal, and making sure to really use coupons and loyalty programs where possible.
moonischasingme1 moonischasingme1 8 years
I think it is crap. It may be a little more up front to buy nutrient packed foods, but in the long run it is cheaper when you factor in the cost of health care from eating like shiza.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
Ok I'm glad I'm not the only one confused by that too. My food spending habits have changed but only because I am pregnant. I couldn't stand to do anything in the kitchen, cooking or cleaning, so it didn't get done for almost 2 months until I started to feel better. But still even though I am starting to cook again, it's nothing like it was a year ago when I prepared almost all our dinners, I think we went out maybe 5 times last year.
only-so-cute only-so-cute 8 years
it may be that i just woke up but i don't understand the end of this sentence... But as the price of cheap food declines, we buy more of it, and cheaper foods are generally higher in calories and lower in calories.
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