As economic conditions become more dire, people are turning to less expensive junk food. However, considering the medical consequences of od’ing on such dishes, perhaps it would be more economical to eat healthy.
Economists, health researchers and consumers are struggling to answer that question as food prices rise and the economy slumps. The World Bank says nearly a billion people around the world live on a dollar a day, or even less; in the United States, the daily food-stamp allowance is typically just a few dollars per person, while the average American eats $7 worth of food per day.
Even middle-class people struggle to put healthful food on the table. Studies show that junk foods tend to cost less than fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods, whose prices continue to rise…
Last year, Dr. [Adam] Drewnowski [director of the centre for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington] led a study, published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, comparing the prices of 370 foods sold at supermarkets in the Seattle area. The study showed that “energy dense” junk foods, which pack the most calories and fewest nutrients per gram, were far less expensive than nutrient-rich, lower-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables. The prices of the most healthful foods surged 19.5 per cent over the two-year study period, while the junk food prices dropped 1.8 per cent.
Obesity researchers worry that these trends will push consumers toward less healthful foods. “The message for this year and next year is going to be affordable nutrition,” Dr. Drewnowski said. “It’s not the food pyramid, it’s the budget pyramid.”
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