Conundrum: Money is tight and junk food is cheaper


Money is tight and people are watching their budgets, but is it getting too expensive to eat healthy? In a recent article by the NY Times, it is reported that even middle-class people are struggling to put healthful food on the table. Eating junk food is just cheaper.

A study by the Center of Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, compared the prices of 370 foods sold at supermarkets in the Seattle area. The study showed that "energy dense" junk foods, which pack on the calories and fewest nutrients per gram, were less expensive than healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. The prices of the most healthful foods surged 19.5% over a two year period, while junk food prices dropped 1.8%.

This is bad news for working families -- especially with small children. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the building blocks for good health, but they can be expensive. In a time where the daily food-stamp allowance is typically just a few dollars per person, the average American eats $7 worth of food per day.