# Everything You Thought About Pricey Health Foods Is Wrong

If you skip the produce aisle for cheaper pre-packaged foods, you could be getting less of a bargain than you thought.

Low-cost health foods actually pack more nutrition per dollar than you’re getting by opting for seemingly inexpensive foods with lower nutritional content, according to a new study by the USDA

Turns out we’ve been measuring food the wrong way all along – based on price per calorie. Looking at foods that way will easily make it seem like a bag of chips (loads of calories, cheap in price) seem like a better deal than a carton of strawberries (fewer calories, higher price).

But researchers put more than 4,400 different food products to the test, this time breaking down their price based on portion size and weight.

They found that because portion sizes for low-cal foods are typically larger than calorie-dense products, your cash will go further.

The whole study involved a lot of tricky maths like this:

Photo: USDA

But this photo says more than algebra ever could:

Photo: USDA

Chances are you’ll fill up faster with that half plate of broccoli than a handful of M&Ms, right?

“Foods consumed in large amounts tend to have a high price per average size portion. This explains why cola-type soft drinks become considerably more expensive than milk when measured using the price per average size portion,” the study says. “Average reported consumption (per drinking occasion) of soft drinks is twice as large (approximately 2 cups) as average reported consumption of milk (approximately 1 cup).”

Of course, you’ll still pay boat loads more by stocking up on all-organic foods at the store, but there aren’t really any known health benefits to eating organic – other than the peace of mind that comes with knowing your food hasn’t been coated in pesticides.

Plenty of regular produce isn’t “dirty” enough to warrant paying top dollar for organic versions, anyway.

The Environmental Works Group has an excellent chart detailing the “dirty” and “clean” products we should worry about.

These made the clean list: Onions, Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Avocado, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Cabbage, Watermelon, Sweet potatoes, Grapefruit, and Mushrooms.

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