Study reveals higher cost of healthy eating

December 06 2013

It costs more to eat a healthy diet packed with foods such as fruit, vegetables, fish and nuts than it does an unhealthy one, according to the latest research on the subject.
The Harvard School of Public Health carried out an investigation that looked into the financial requirements behind certain types of lifestyles and it concluded those who try to eat as well as they can are being hit in the pocket.
Overall, 27 studies were completed - some in Canada - before researchers concluded that a healthy diet costs around $1.50 (£0.92) extra per person per day in comparison with a below-par unhealthy menu.
Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard Medical School said the investigation provides the clearest and most accurate picture yet of exactly how much it costs to be healthy, and while it is undoubtedly more expensive, he suggested the difference is less than some people might have suspected.
"Over the course of a year, $1.50 per day more for eating a healthy diet would increase food costs for one person by about $550 per year. This would represent a real burden for some families, and we need policies to help offset these costs," he stated.
The findings could be linked to the results detailed by the University of Guelph in its latest Food Price Index, which found the cost of eating out in restaurants is likely to rise by two per cent in the new year.
In some cases, these price hikes could be the rest of eateries doing all they can to offer healthy dishes, which are clearly more expensive to produce.
An unhealthy diet, which is cheaper for people to follow, typically contains plenty of processed foods, meat and refined grains.
The reason many of these foods are cheaper to buy is that they are typically made in high volumes where efficiency rules and manufacturers can make substantial profits by producing in bulk.