by Will Llamas and the TLS Team
“Why should I eat healthy when I can get more calories for the money?” In our struggling economy, this question has been a no brainer for most people. On a calorie basis, most unhealthy food is much cheaper than their healthy alternative.
But price per calorie is not the beat way to gauge the price of food, especially since most people are not lacking in calories. In fact, the cost of food depends completely on the way you measure the price. Recently, the Department of Agriculture held a conference to explain the results of an interesting study conducted on the price of food.
The study, led by author Andrea Carlson from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, computed the price of food using three different methods. The first was the traditional but flawed price per calorie system. The second was price per edible weight, which uses the weight of the food after all preparation, is done. The last was price per average amount eaten, meaning the amount of a specific food that people actually eat.
Of course in the price per calorie system, fruits and vegetables were more expensive than less healthy foods. However, according to Carlson, “If we use price per edible weight or per average amount eaten, then grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy foods are less expensive than most protein foods and less healthy foods.” Similar results showed that healthy foods were cheaper using the third method.
So, don’t be afraid to ditch the price per calorie method as you calculate the price of food next time your at the supermarket. By choosing the right foods, you can always find a way to eat healthy while spending less.