Monday, December 9, 2013

Healthy Diets DO Cost More and Are Worth Every Extra Penny

Eating a well-balanced diet is more expensive and undoubtedly worth it.

A Harvard School of Public Health study recently determined eating a healthful diet full of fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish costs, on average, about $1.50 more per day than a diet constituted of processed foods, meats and refined grains.

At the end of the year, this can cost about $550 extra per year per person.  Undoubtedly, that can create a burden on some families but the price of consuming a well-balanced diet is nothing when compared to the cost of diet-related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, etc.).  In fact, the study points out that the cost of treating these diseases is about...wait for it....$393 BILLION per year in the U.S. or about $1200 per year per person. 

Remember this:
It is better (and easier) to prevent disease and illness than it is to treat it. 

Wouldn't you rather pay a bit more to consume delicious, quality food that nourishes your body than pay for expensive prescriptions and medical treatments? 

This study actually hints at a bigger issue indicating that "unhealthy diets may cost less because food policies have focused on the production of 'inexpensive, high volume commodities', which has led to 'a complex network of farming, storage, transportation, processing, manufacturing, and marketing capabilities that favor sales of highly processed food products for maximal industry profit.' Given this reality, they said that creating a similar infrastructure to support production of healthier foods might help increase the availability — and reduce the prices — of more healthful diets."

Fair enough but when it comes to our health, we're all going to pay one way or the other.  I would rather pay upfront for high-quality food items than go bankrupt treating an awful disease caused by a terrible diet.  

My grandmother was a Type 2 diabetic.  Her poor diet combined with inactivity led to a painful death for her and our entire family.  She was a wonderful, engaging woman who suffered, in large part, because of her diet which was dominated by processed food later in her life. 

The Takeaway
Healthful diets might cost more but the longterm benefit of potentially reduced healthcare costs and a life free of diet-induced medical issues make them worth every extra penny.

A typical day on the Mediterranean diet
I've said many times but I'll say it again: I LOVE the Mediterranean approach to eating.  It's a diet full of fish, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, chocolate and wine.  It's so abundant you don't feel deprived.

There's also the latest research from the UK that says eating the Mediterranean way is an effective way to fight dementia.

You can't go wrong eating this way.

Here is one of my favorite Mediterranean diet recipes: Halibut with Roasted Tomatoes & Balsamic Glaze.

*photos courtesy of Shutterstock