USDA says healthful foods NOT more expensive

The Los Angeles Times reports that the US Department of Agriculture finds that having “looked into the price of food per edible weight … snacks that are heavy in sodium, added sugars and saturated fats and don’t come from standard food groups – think sodas and candy – actually cost more than grains, dairy and greens. Meat also tends to be expensive.”

The AP reports in a story appearing on over 500 news sites, “An Agriculture Department study released Wednesday found that most fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods cost less than foods high in fat, sugar and salt. That counters a common perception among some consumers that it’s cheaper to eat junk food than a nutritionally balanced meal.”

USA Today  reports, “Contrary to popular belief, many healthy foods are no more expensive than junk food.” According to the study, “when using weight and portion size as the guide, many healthy foods were not any more costly than unhealthy ones.”

The Los Angeles Times reports in its “Booster Shots” blog, “Study lead author Andrea Carlson from the USDA’s Economic Research Service presented the 50-page report, entitled ‘Are Healthy Foods More Expensive? It Depends On How You Measure the Price.'”

Three possible ways for comparing food were considered: “price-per-calorie;” “price per edible weight;” and “price per average amount – meaning how much people actually eat of a food.”

On the first measure, “fruits and vegetables tend to be more expensive than less healthy food,” but on the other two measures, “grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy foods are less expensive than most protein foods and less healthy foods.”

The Wall Street Journal reports in its “Health” blog saying that the study runs contrary to commonly held views.

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