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USDA: Healthy Food Cheaper Than Junk Food

Though junk food, like potato chips, are cheaper per calorie, eating healthy is cheaper than eating packaged or high-sodium foods, contradicting prior findings.


Eating healthy is cheaper than eating junk food, says a new USDA study.

The report, entitled “Are Healthy Foods More Expensive? It Depends On How You Measure the Price," found that when averaged, healthy foods were cheaper to consume than packaged junk foods.

“It’s a common perception that healthy foods are more expensive than less healthy foods—and this perception, real or hypothetical, may prevent many individuals from choosing healthy foods,” said David Katz of Yale University's Prevention Research Center, according to Today.

Most prior studies that measure dollar-per-calorie have found that junk food tends to be cheaper than healthier food.

Lead author, Andrea Carlson, said that such measurements did not take into consideration the true costs of food.

“Take a chocolate glazed doughnut, which is 240 calories,” she said, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“You can easily eat one, if not two or three without any trouble at all. However, a banana, which has a lot of nutrients in it and will make you feel quite full, has only 105 calories. You will fill fuller if you eat the banana versus the doughnut.”

The current study used the cost-per-calorie method as well as two others: price per edible weight and price per average amount consumed - the idea being that people will generally eat less carrots than chips, said the Los Angeles Times.

The results bolster the Obama administration push for healthier foods in schools, in this case to control costs.

The CDC reports that about 17 percent of the 12.5 million of Americans between the ages 2 and 19 are considered obese.