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Old 12-07-2009, 09:46 PM   #12
mandalinn82
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Location: Woodland, CA
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Yep, per calorie, on food cost alone, you could eat a 1200 calorie diet of corn and soy-based junk food for less cost than a 1200 calorie diet of fresh foods.

But.

1. This is based on supermarket prices, not on in season, locally obtained produce. At end of market, I can get 6 lbs of in season apples for 3 dollars, or a bunch of celery for 25 cents. Supermarkets are rarely the least expensive place to buy anything EXCEPT junk food. Markets and farms are a completely different price point, if you're buying directly from the farmers and in season.

2. You won't be full on 1200 calories of junk, so your total diet cost may not change much...my personal experience is that it takes easily 3 times as many calories of junk a day to keep me full and satisfied as it does of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Research backs this up - whole foods have a higher satiety factor. So if you can be satisfied on 1200 calories of veggies, but not satisfied until 3000 calories of junk, even if the veggies cost a little under 3x as much, you're still ending up about the same. Take potato chips...1200 calories of potato chips is less than a full-sized bag (about 75%). Or, 4 of the two-packs of Little Debbie nut bars. That'd cost about the same as your 1200 calories of healthy foods, and I'm betting you'd be a lot more full with the good stuff than with the junk. Even three times that, if it didn't make you throw up, wouldn't be as satisfying as a good meal of healthy food, at least to me.

3. This obviously doesn't take into account the health risks of eating junk food, resultant prescriptions, medical care, etc. Which is a whole different discussion.

What I'd be curious about...if we're talking about calories/dollar, why did they pick veggies as their benchmark. What about dried beans and rice? They're filling, have protein and fiber and minerals, and are pretty much lightyears ahead of potato chips and nutty bars...and probably cost about the same or less per calorie, depending where you buy them, as the chips. I'd also be curious exactly what veggies they were choosing...some things like carrots are a lot cheaper than out of season bell peppers.

It's really interesting, but personally, my grocery bill is lower now that I'm getting healthy foods from alternate sources and eating a lower number of calories. Considerably lower, especially if you consider eating out, which I don't do anymore.
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