Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Is Healthy so Hard?

We've all heard it: "Eat smart if you want to lose weight and be healthy!"

But what if the cost of eating smart is out of reach for most people? That possibility may be truer than you know.

New research shows that the cost of eating healthy foods -- those higher in nutrients and lower in fats, sugars, and processed carbs -- has increased by 20% in the past two years. What about the cost of calorie-dense foods? No increase.
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Washington focused on the cost of eating foods that are rich in nutrients, and low in calories, like fresh vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meats. That's the stuff we're told we have to eat if we are going to shed a few pounds and remain healthy.

But when the researchers checked prices at numerous stores around the Seattle area, they found that the good, healthy foods had soared in price over a two-year period, jumping by nearly 20 percent compared to a 5 percent increase in the overall food price inflation. And during that same period, high-calorie foods had remained about the same price, and in some cases had actually dropped.

So who is shopping at farmer's markets, Whole Foods, or retailers with healthy food selections?

"It takes three things," [Adam] Drewnowsky [director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington] said. "Education, money and time. If you have all three, you're home free. If you have two out of three, you can manage. But if you have only one out of the three, or zero of the three, you are pretty much screwed. And a lot of low-income people have zero out of three."

Obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed in the past 15 years because highly-processed/high-calorie/low-nutrient foods have become the cheapest and easiest foods available. With government subsidies favoring these food products, things will surely get worse before they get better.

Howard's advice: Either earn more and shop smarter or eat mega-nachos and go ride a bike. What the heck -- ride a bike no matter what!


Blogger John said...

This has nothing to do with your post, but I'm too lazy to go to e-mail.

Way to go on your December century myman!!! Very inspiring!

Ok, so maybe it has a little to do with your post afterall.
Citizen of one of the fattest states in the union... Michigan.

8:09 PM, December 19, 2007  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

Thanks John. I've done at least one century every month since April for a total of 13 this year. Deadhead and I were planning one for last weekend, but the weather was too crummy and the snow hadn't melted enough. Today's forecast said 44F, so I decided to go for it. And even though the "real" high was only 38F, I got 'er done. Tomorrow's high? 45F. Hmmmmm...

Deadhead and BikePrincess are traveling out-of-state on Friday, and he won't be taking his bike. He's done a century every month for something like 30 months in a row. His only hope will be the last day of the year!

10:07 PM, December 19, 2007  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

Oh yeah, and Colorado is actually the fittest state in the union. Glad I lost all that weight and am no longer a statistical outlier. :-D

10:13 PM, December 19, 2007  
Blogger culimerc said...

Enlightening article, but somehow not as shocking as I would hope that it would be. Thing is I wonder how many people who *do* have 3 of three resources still choose to eat crap 'cuz its just easier.

In the US food travels an average of 1500 miles from field to table. In Italy, the average is 25 miles. Brings the idea of "buy local" into prospective doesnt it??

7:38 PM, December 27, 2007  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

When the cost of transport goes up -- I said "when" not "if" -- the global economy is going to become much less so. How's your corner of the world? Is it sustainable enough to withstand the loss of affordable Chilean produce, fresh fish from the coasts, cheap fruit, lettuce, and celery from California... beef from America's heartland? The old refrain "not in my backyard" will be replaced by a new one, "In my backyard? Please!"

9:13 PM, December 29, 2007  

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