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Magnus Eisengrim
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Healthy eating adds $2K a year to family grocery bill

Is this a matter for public policy? Or should we wait for the free and open market to solve this problem? Or, is it a problem at all?

Quote:
A family on a healthy diet can expect to pay $2,000 more a year for food than one having less nutritious meals, say researchers who recommend that the cost gap be closed.

The research in Thursday's issue of British Medical Journal Open reviewed 27 studies from 10 high-income countries to evaluate the price differences of foods and diet patterns.

"Our results indicate that lowering the price of healthier diet patterns — on average about $1.50/day more expensive — should be a goal of public health and policy efforts, and some studies suggest that this intervention can indeed reduce consumption of unhealthy foods," Dariush Mozaffarian, the study's senior author and a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and his co-authors concluded.

Eating a healthier diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts would increase food costs for one person by about $550 a year, the researchers said. Diets rich in processed foods, meats and refined grains were considered unhealthy.

Among food groups, meats and protein showed the highest price difference and cost about 29 cents more per serving.

Previously, Mozaffarian's team suggested taxing less healthy foods together with subsidies for healthier foods would balance price differences.

"That's a real price difference, $1.50 for a low-income family could be an important barrier," Mozaffarian said in an interview. "On the other hand, that's a cup of coffee, that's a trivial cost compared to the enormous burdens of heart disease, obesity, diabetes that are due to poor diet."

The $1.50 per day is hugely significant for anyone working with budget constraints, said Valerie Tarasuk, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto..."We have to make sure everybody has the possibility of buying a healthy diet [that] is reasonably priced and we haven't done that now."
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Michael Baker
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Nothing really new, as any person living hand-to-mouth can attest. Stretching food budgets usually includes additional starches and cheap prepackaged, processed foods, which are generally considered unhealthy, being lower in nutritional value and contribute to obesity.

A $0.50 box of mac and cheese will fill the bellies of three or four small kids for that meal. Hamburger Helper isn't bought by people looking for convenience. It's bought to stretch a pound of ground beef into a family meal. Cheap white bread and a package of bologna will feed a person for several days.
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landmark
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Wow, good to know I just saved $2000! Smile

But you know, even eating fast food isn't what it used to be. I had an egg sandwich, hash browns, and a coffee coolatta the other day at Dunkin' Donuts, and I think it cost me $8 or $9.

Sometimes it does cost more to eat healthily, but the greater problem IMO is not cost but the access to good food and the time to prepare it. Bulk grains and beans, organic fruits and vegetables in season, home preparation, and access to a food co-op can greatly reduce the cost of quality food. For most working folks trying to rush around as their jobs demand ever more of their time and souls, this becomes increasingly difficult.

But what I really want to know is why is my spell-checker flagging the word "coolatta"?
General_Magician
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How much money does healthy eating reduce your costs in future medical care? And if one doesn't eat healthy, how much more money does it cost for that person in future medical care? You are going to pay either way it seems. It's either pay now or pay much more later on. If you can't afford to pay now, you certainly will have to pay much more later on regardless whether you want to or not and whether you have the means to do so or not. I try my best to make room in my budget for healthy eating even though I know it costs more. It's not always easy though. You don't want to be penny wise but pound foolish.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Michael Baker
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That's an excellent point, William. I think though, the concept of hand-to-mouth is a key decision-maker here, aside from the fact that not everyone is necessarily educated in culinary skills, generally needed to make use of healthier foods (assuming that pre-packaged, processed foods are a main culprit). People on very limited budgets generally buy for the moment. This is probably part of a vicious cycle, too, despite the irony of saving money.
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Magnus Eisengrim
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It has also been documented that working paycheque-to-paycheque is physically and psychologically exhausting. This makes things like getting more work, preparing meals, shopping etc. more difficult than it is for more financially comfortable people. It truly is a vicious cycle.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
critter
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I don't spend a lot on eating what I think is relatively healthy, but I also don't have as much variety as I'd like. Mostly a lot of kale, romaine, beans, and eggs.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
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mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2013-12-07 12:55, landmark wrote:


But what I really want to know is why is my spell-checker flagging the word "coolatta"?


Probably because it isn't a real word, just a trademarked term for the Dunkin' Donuts product. (Note that spellchecker flags "Dunkin'" as well. Smile
NYCTwister
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It's a classic catch 22 situation. People of limited means are forced to make short term decisions which are rarely the best in the long run.
Having said that I think that the difference in cost can be made up by buying smarter and economizing in other areas. The health benefits far outweigh the difficulties.
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Zombie Magic
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We used to have hamburger helper without the hamburger ( no joke ).
critter
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There was a time when I was "between homes" that I was living on Wonder Bread and ketchup packets.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
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Bazinga
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On 2013-12-07 15:20, Zombie Magic wrote:
We used to have hamburger helper without the hamburger ( no joke ).

Ah yes, Helper, a college staple. I also had a freezer full of 15-cent McD's cheeseburgers that the Caféteria lady was kind enough to let me warm up in the microwave. Two of those and a "No Coke, Pepsi" were a lunchtime feast. My college girlfriend worked at Pizza Hut 6 days a week. At the end of their shifts, the waitresses were allowed a free medium pizza. She got to the point where she hated them but my budget loved them.

But yes, I think I'm paying for that way of life now with my health.

Bazinga!
landmark
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Quote:
On 2013-12-07 15:52, critter wrote:
There was a time when I was "between homes" that I was living on Wonder Bread and ketchup packets.

We used to call those "nothing sandwiches."
landmark
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Quote:
On 2013-12-07 14:11, mastermindreader wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-12-07 12:55, landmark wrote:


But what I really want to know is why is my spell-checker flagging the word "coolatta"?


Probably because it isn't a real word, just a trademarked term for the Dunkin' Donuts product. (Note that spellchecker flags "Dunkin'" as well. Smile

Bosh. My plantation-owning ancestors were sipping mint julep coolattas on the veranda centuries ago.

BTW one day I was curious what a coolatta actually was comprised of, so I got the manager of my local D & D to bring up the box of mix from the basement, and show me the ingredients. You will be glad to know that no coffee beans were killed in the making. Oh, also, those of you who are lactose intolerant--not to worry.
Michael Baker
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I have known some college types whose fraternity was Ramen Ramen Ramen.

When I was first turning magic into a career, I used to joke that I was a true professional magician. I knew thousands of tricks and at least 47 ways to cook potatoes.
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Magnus Eisengrim
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While it's always fun to boast of our youthful college diets, that's a long drift from the OP.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
tommy
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We the elite can afford to eat well and as the herd is too large, we have decided to give you cheap fast food and free heart attacts. You know it makes sense.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Quote:
On 2013-12-07 18:09, tommy wrote:
We the elite can afford to eat well and as the herd is too large, we have decided to give you cheap fast food and free heart attacts. You know it makes sense.

Even the elite and the average person are prone to unhealthy diets even though money is not an excuse for them.
Bob
Bazinga
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Quote:
On 2013-12-07 18:03, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
While it's always fun to boast of our youthful college diets, that's a long drift from the OP.

Boy, did you just open a can of worms for when you ever do that.

Bazinga!
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2013-12-07 20:01, Intrepid wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-12-07 18:09, tommy wrote:
We the elite can afford to eat well and as the herd is too large, we have decided to give you cheap fast food and free heart attacts. You know it makes sense.

Even the elite and the average person are prone to unhealthy diets even though money is not an excuse for them.

True. The tornado doesn't always hit the trailer park. Rich kids eat Doritos, too. In some cases, probably more than poor kids who can't afford them everyday.
~michael baker
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