In a perfect world, everybody would eat a balanced diet of fruits, whole grains and lean meats and fish. By fueling your cells with the essential phytonutrients found in these natural foods, you’re setting yourself up for a day full of energy, focus and drive. You also might see a boost in mood as a result of your improved diet.
However, switching yourself over to a healthier diet might prove more difficult than first thought, and getting your family to follow suit is an exercise in futility. But what pushes people away from diets that are otherwise beneficial for their hearts, minds and everything else? While mass-produced foodstuffs are packed with artificial ingredients that might make them taste better than your average leafy green, new evidence suggests that there might be a more economic-driven reason for why people just aren’t eating the right foods anymore.
Picture the last time you went shopping for groceries. Unless you had a mountain of coupons to bring your final bill down, odds are you searched for products that would fill up your family’s stomachs without breaking your budgets. Unfortunately, that probably involved buying some mass-produced foods made with less-than-quality but affordable ingredients.
If this kind of cost-conscious shopper sounds like you, you’re probably not alone. According to a study conducted by researchers at Brown and Harvard Universities and published in the British Medical Journal, eating fresh and non-mass-produced food actually costs about $1.50 more per day than a diet that includes primarily junk and snack foods. Over a year’s time, this comes out to about $550 extra spent on your grocery bills.
The researchers broke down the costs by calories yielded by each food type. Healthy food produced 1,000 kilocalories for about $12 worth of food, while unhealthy items provided the same number of calories for only $4. The study didn’t look at the nutritional content of these foods, but if your entire diet is comprised of only processed ingredients, it’s unlikely at best that you’re looking after your cell health as much as possible.
Though there may be a $1.50 gap between healthy foods and their hydrogenated, saturated and breaded counterparts, you might hold out hope that greens and lean meats will make a comeback in the market and one day cost no more than a bag of chips. However, a second study from researchers at the U.K. Clinical Research Collaboration and published in PLOS One found that this price gap isn’t going away. On the contrary, it’s actually growing larger.
The researchers looked at food prices between 2002 and 2012, and while the cost of all foods increased by about 35 percent on average, only healthy foods experienced an annual jump by about 0.26 cents.
“Since 2002, more healthy foods and beverages have been consistently more expensive than less healthy ones, with a growing gap between them,” the researchers said in a statement.
If you’re lucky enough not to subordinate your nutritional needs to your finances, then these results probably don’t mean much to you. However, if you budget your groceries every month like the rest of your expenses, then it might be startling to hear just how costly eating right has become .
That doesn’t mean you have to give up on the hope of proper cell health, though. While buying leafy greens and fresh-caught fish every month might be outside of your price range, cell health supplements formulated with the essential phytonutrients your body needs to function at the most basic level can close that nutritional gap.