Resolution Solution: No Excuses In 2012: The Junk Food Myth

Is junk food really cheaper than real food?


Mark Bittman, an opinion columnist for The New York Times, and the Times Magazine’s food columnist, recently covered the topic of the ‘junk food myth:’

“The ‘fact’ that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes,” wrote Bittman.

“This is just plain wrong,” Bittman countered. “In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food: a typical order for a family of four — for example, two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas — costs, at the McDonald’s a hundred steps from where I write, about $28.”

A roasted chicken, with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, alongside sauteed broccoli in olive oil and garlic, served with a bed of greens and accompanying vegetables will cost you about $12-$14.

The “canned” version of an inexpensive meal: 28 ounces of wild caught Alaskan salmon with sides of green beans and artichoke hearts costs about $10.

Wild caught salmon and vegetables for $2.50 per person. Don’t tell me junk food is cheaper or that you cannot afford to eat well.

The Not-So-Hidden Cost of Junk Food

Something that doesn’t get factored into the cost of processed foods, including the ubiquitous aisle products containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and refined carbohydrates: the associated healthcare costs of obesity and the related diseases. Next time you think about the “savings” a box of cookies yields from the poor ingredients contained in it, consider the long-term price of the precipitous decline in your health.

In 2012, remember the fact that you can afford real food - and, besides - your health is worth paying for.

Bob Kaplan holds advance degrees in exercise physiology and business, an undergraduate degree in nutrition, is a nationally certified personal trainer, and owns four Get In Shape For Women locations in Bedford, Wellesley, Westford, and Winchester.

For more information about Kaplan's services at Get in Shape For Women in Wellesley, please call 781-237-7752 or visit at 259 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA, 02481, or online at www.getinshapeforwomen.com for a free week trial. Call or visit to schedule a Resolution Accountability Consultation where we will hold you accountable to your 2012 resolutions.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

MJ December 05, 2011 at 02:49 PM
This is very true but cheaper food requires COOKING; It is amazing to me how many people have never cooked from scratch. Maybe I had an advantage because I watched my Mother cook & learned a lot from her. I know what goes into my food because I make it myself!
Bob Kaplan December 06, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Thanks for the comment, MJ! You can actually choose both alternatives in the article without having to cook the meal (rotisserie chicken and prepared greens, for example) and it will still come out cheaper than the fast-food meal.


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