As the weather starts to warm up this spring, its time to start thinking of shedding some of those winter pounds and getting back into healthy living. However, as much as we’d all love to eat nothing but the freshest foods, sometimes getting fresh, organic food can be expensive. We’ve decided to help put it into perspective, by looking into the real costs and benefits of eating healthier foods.
Because of the extra care needed to grow certified organic produce, there will always be a slight price markup for these items. Where regular foods can be sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers that increase yields, organic producers have to find other, often more expensive ways to contend with weeds, pests and weather related problems that can lead to crop losses.
In an article from the New York Times, organic prices showed a significant price increase over “regular” products, with an organic loaf of bread costing around $0.40 more on average, and organic milk costing as much as $2.00 more. With these prices, it is hard to reach for the organic product in the grocery aisle, especially in the current economy.
The Price of Unhealthy Eating
So is organic food really worth the extra money in the long run? This could depend on what you are eating instead, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. In an article on rising fast food consumption during the recession, the WSJ said that as a result, the US has seen a rise in the sales of snack-type foods like chips, and that in the last year, the amount of meals that involved a microwave rose to 30%, 10% over the last eight year average and the obesity rate in 2009 climbed one percent over its rate a year earlier.
Not only is fast food not necessarily less expensive than cooking at home, if you budget well and make shopping list to prevent impulse and needless purchases, but the health related costs can add up as well. In an extensive report by the Worldwatch Institute in 2000, 30-40% of cancer cases could potentially be prevented by dietary change, and a survey of overweight and obese workers in he Netherlands showed that they make 20-40% more visits to their doctors.
While of course grabbing a Big Mac once and a while won’t lead to these drastic health complications, the continued decision to go for the less healthy option can in fact end costing way more in the long run. The next time your in the grocery store, think twice about choosing the frozen pizza over the organic loaf of bread, even if the price tags are telling you otherwise.