Why eating healthy is so expensive in America

Why eating healthy is so expensive in America

With ten dollars, you can buy this many donuts. And this many apples. If you opt for the donuts, you get a lot more
calories. But not all calories are created equal. Apples contain fiber and vitamins while donuts
are full of saturated fats and chemically processed ingredients. Even though apples are healthier for you,
you have to eat more of them to get the same number of calories as one donut. And it would cost you about five more dollars,
which means… the cost-effective choice is usually not the nutritionally-sound one. There’s a strong relationship between diets that are
low in fruits and vegetables and obesity and diabetes. These two chronic diseases now
rank among the nation’s gravest health concerns. Produce is essential for a healthy diet, but
Americans aren’t eating enough of it. And part of the problem is cost. So what can be done to add more produce to
the American plate? Fresh vegetables and fruits are often more expensive
to farm than other types of crops that end up in processed foods. For example, fresh strawberries have to be
picked by hand. But strawberries destined for preserves can
be harvested by a machine. Bumps and bruises don’t matter in the process,
and machines are more efficient and cheaper in the long-run than human labor. This extra work is reflected in the price
difference between fresh strawberries and other crops, and it also makes fresh strawberries
more expensive to buy than processed strawberries Government subsidies also play a role in the
cost difference. For example, the USDA doesn’t subsidize
leafy vegetable crops in the same way it subsidizes wheat, soy, and corn. These three crops make up a lot of processed
food, so products full of high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil have an unfair advantage. When it comes to cost, the less nutritious
food will win out. Other incentives are needed to keep people
away from cheap, processed foods. Taxes on products on tobacco and alcohol have
been effective at curbing consumption. This line shows the average price per pack
of cigarettes over the past forty years The rising prices are partly fueled by federal
and state cigarette tax increases in 1983, throughout the early 2000’s, and 2009. Meanwhile, per capita cigarette consumption
(shown by this line) has steadily decreased as prices have gone up. And researchers are arguing that what need
to start thinking about a junk food tax.The tax would focus on non-essential food items
like candy, soda and potato chips. These unhealthy foods would be taxed at the
manufacturing level, and higher costs at checkout could steer customers toward healthier options. But a junk food tax alone won’t fix obesity. Or the already high costs of a healthy diet… So what can be done? We could make healthy produce sexy. Okay, well there are other things too. To address the cost issue, some programs are
springing up that make produce more affordable for lower-income people, through subsidies. And since 2014, the USDA has granted over
$65 million to expand these programs throughout the US. There’s also the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription
Program or FvRX. Doctors can give vouchers for produce to low-income
patients who are at high-risk of diet-related disease. Growing produce in home or community gardens
can encourage healthy eating with little investment, but finding time to cook, let alone garden,
can be a burden for families. We don’t yet know which strategies and programs
are work best, but they’re worth testing for one simple reason: if Americans ate a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, and more fruits and vegetables,
we know they’d be a whole lot healthier.


  1. Even for those who want to eat healthy, picking the right diet can be tricky.

    Watch our video on the ketogenic diet, the latest fad in eating healthy: http://bit.ly/2DNkjZh

  2. I live in a rural area in Southern Italy. Here, with 10 euros, you can buy two bags full of fruit and vegetables. I remember, as a child, being surprised of how cheap it was. I don't really get what's the point of making things so expensive and then complain if a big part of the population is unhealthy and overweight.

  3. AMERICAN Apples are poisonous and they have been banned in several countries like europe because of the shiney outter layer&arsenic its like snowwhites apple eat it u'lldie

  4. Rice, beans and potatoes are so cheap when purchased in larger quantities, the saving from these would allow them to buy more expensive fresh fruit and veg. They blame it on the cost, but really it is because junk food 'tastes better'

  5. I can buy two half-pound turnips for less than a buck fifty. People who say they can't afford to eat healthfully have probably never shopped at a farmer's market in their life. They probably haven't even thought to peruse the produce section of their local grocery store. There are plenty of options out there. It's just a matter of taking the initiative to be observant.

  6. it might be hard to get the same amount of calories in 10 donuts, but who needs that many calories? also, eating just one thing isn't good, whether it's apples or donuts.

  7. In Pennsylvania i can get over 50 apples for $10-$15 by picking them at the local farm when they are in season. Same with blueberries I can get a mountain of them for the same price.

  8. With 10 Euros in Italy you get 10 kilos of apples and maybe half a Kilo of fresh Tomatoes. If you go to a farm market maybe even more. They even give you basil and fresh rosemary for free, even celery and all kinds of veggies. From these year the government has created a law in which throwing food on a dumpster for supermarket is considered a crime. Because of that tons and tons of good food are destined to homeless people (there are not so many actually) and low income families.

  9. Listen! Even though it cost more money upfront to eat healthy… It will save you more money in the long run as you avoid multiple trips to the hospital for making the right choice to not continuously eat unhealthy foods like donuts. Invest in your health! It will pay off

  10. Keep the bad food cheap
    Keep them sick to buy pharmaceuticals
    Keep them poor for working at a job that doesn't pay enough
    Keep them paying more than they can save
    Keep them at a job that pays less for more of their time .
    It's all a game .

  11. Apples Do NOT cost that much. You can get a bag of 9 apples for $2.99. The organic ones are $3.99. Where are your sources hun?

  12. In Denmark sweets, snacks etc. are seen as luxury goods. They have a higher tax and are much more expensive. Because of that a healthy lifestyle is always affordable.

  13. Grocery store? Don't you guys have traditional market where farmers can directly sell their produce to the buyers? In my country it's everywhere and everything is dirt cheap. The cheapest apple in grocery stores is like 0.3 dollar each but in traditional markets, with some haggling, you can get it for just 0,1 dollar. It's funny to be honest. Modernism is supposed to make your life easier, not harder

  14. I find it absurd that you can buy a hamburger for 1 dollar at McDonald's for less than it would have cost to make it your own. That's essentialy the problem atm, when you can buy cheap good tasting junk food for less than making your own healthier alternative.

  15. Early humans didn't eat cultivated selectively bred modified fruits and vegetables to be heathy, they ate wild bugs worms seeds leaves trees roots plants that were untouched by selective breeding cultivation, it is a myth that you have to buy and eat corporation commercially farmed fruits and vegetables to be healthy, to be the healthiest person on planet earth all you need to do is breed and eat worms and bugs at home and if you want more find healthy beneficial wild weeds and other wild foods species to eat and if you can't do that then go straight to the source and find private farmers that will whole sell you thousands of pounds of seeds nuts and beans to store in your home to save money and eat healthy.

  16. ??? $2 apples? Are these honey crisp or something? If you are on a budget you wouldn't buy honey crisp apples. You would do for red delicious or something.

  17. 1:51 Except that people don't need cigarettes and whiskey to survive. If the can't afford food, they won't just be uncomfortable, they'll be DEAD.

  18. Dude, this list is exaggerated. In california, newyork, miami, and the really REALLy big cities, its this expensive. EVERYWHERE else in the united states, you can buy a bag of fruit for 0.35$. This list is EXTREMELY exaggerated.

  19. 1) Donuts usually taste better than apples besides being cheaper.
    2) I can buy generic jelly making it cheaper than the Smucker's jar, but fresh fruit is typically the same price no matter where you shop, so that can be a difference of over $2.
    3) The jelly will last at least a week in my house and make several sandwiches, while the strawberries will be gone in a sitting, so the cost of the strawberries is even higher when you account for how many meals you get out of it.

  20. Get rid of the chemicals that r put in food. Go back to the original formulas of everything pre 1980 and the obesity epidemic will stop. Culprit…. fructose corn syrup. Read a medical biochem book and see what how this is processed in body. There is reason its banned in most countries world wide. Gmos and other chemicals r part of the problem too. Google chemicals found on ingrident lists in food and then read medical biochemistry books. Then u will realize what your eating…..

  21. Take a junk food tax, use the money from that to subsidize produce. While also running large scale healthy eating campaigns

  22. To think 1 in 3 American's is obese is a serious slap of reality… Processed food is more expensive than real food~

  23. . One thing that adds to cost is perish-ability. Plenty of fresh produce needs to get thrown out because it isn't sold fast enough, even more gets thrown out at home because it's not eaten fast enough. You can freeze most produce but I think most people don't bother. Which is why prefrozen produce can be cheaper despite the extra energy cost to keep it constantly frozen.

    That perish-ability goes beyond selling it fast enough and using it fast enough, stuff that can be save for a long time can be bought in bulk and brought in from other countries easier that might pay their workers less and have less stringent environmental protections and so on.

  24. Meanwhile in Germany:
    You can buy at least 2 weeks worth of vegetables on the Lokal market for 6 bucks.
    For the same price you get 2 frozen pizzas.
    Yeah, junk food is relatively expensive over here.

  25. Allow people to grow food on their front lawns. Allows for more available fresh food right at the door step. No need to go to the grocery store, pay the high costs that pay for transport, storing, cleaning. And it will always be fresh.

  26. Great info, I realize lots of folks on his channel might not eat meat, and I respect your choice. However for those who do eat meat , when its raised ethically and responsibly it makes it much more expensive. Doing the right thing is rarely cheap or easy

  27. You can actually get about 17.5 organic apples for $10 in the US. I just checked. That's 57¢ per apple. Do your research, Vox.

  28. Local fruit produce is something every country should strive for, and with some effort and knowledge we could innovate that in unique ways as well.

  29. The powerful in the government would love it if you would relinquish a little more freedom and hand them more control. And it's like time. It only moves in one direction. They'll tax the junk food and instead of using the money to subsidize healthy food, they'll give it to their "supporters". Are you based in the USA, Vox? Because you're really out of touch.

  30. If you prepare food at home, healthy food is way cheaper than jink/unhealthy food. Potatoes, Eggs, carrots, celery, The trouble with Americans is, they eat when not hungry. If you are hungry, an apple would be a very satisfying thing to eat

  31. Gatekeeping discounts behind doctors is a horrible idea, how are the poorest people supposed to get a prescription for some blueberries when they cannot even afford to the doctor?

  32. I'm broke asf becuase of this might as well just grow but my manager would kick us out and evict us….freaking food deserts

  33. 0:00 That is not a fair comparison for 5 apples.
    Those 5 apples are organic, hand-picked, fair trade, and from Whole Foods.

  34. Idk man , when the population prefer to eat only donuts and pizza all day ofcourse they ll get cheaper than healty food. Start buying healty food more and you will see some of them will get cheaper. Here in Romania an apple is around 0.25$..

  35. I think healthy foods does not only cost more in the USA, but almost everywhere. Which make it hard to go healthy when you only have a very limited income and going healthy would eat up more than half of your income. If a large company found a way to sell junks at affordable price, I hope there's also a way that they can sell healthy foods at affordable price.

  36. Where did you get that apple price? 8 small organic Gala apples in Costco cost 3.99. 8 organic bananas cost 1.99. I think they're perfect for weekly consumption. I don't think prices of those two are higher in Walmart. The non organic ones are even cheaper.

  37. one organic brocoolli 1.79
    fresh string beans 2.49
    organic kale 1.29
    A can of black beans 0.99
    A bag of quinoa 6.79
    Total cost 13.66
    What excuse do you have to not eat healthy that is what is wrong with these Americans not all of them but alot of them are always making a bunch of excuses in life!

  38. Rather than adding taxes, decreasing food waste as well as meat consumption can lead to more cheaply available fresh food.

  39. IN Europe is very cheap 1 kg of apples u find it 1,50/2,00 € but sometimes u find it 1,00€ a lot of fruit comes from Africa or Latin America, I mean it s way more near to the USA why don't import cheap fruit from Latin America?

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