Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

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 (and noy only I can say, as it is a spread idea), particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”

This is just plain wrong. 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. (Judicious ordering of “Happy Meals” can reduce that to about $23 — and you get a few apple slices in addition to the fries!) says The New Times.

The fact is that also in Romania there are a lot of people that replace breakfast with a quick
snack from Mcd. or with a bagle and a cup of precessed milk as is cheaper that the regular breakfast. Or maybe in the evening they choose fried potaoes instead of vegetables, cooked ones I mean, because they are easier to prepare.

Another problem is that a cooked meal is more expensive that junk food. Only in appearance I can say – if you spend 2 euros per day at a Mcd for 7 days we can buy ingredients for a home cooked meal for 2 weeks.

And there are a lot of alternatives as The New Times stressed upon:

The alternative to soda is water, and the alternative to junk food is not grass-fed beef and greens from a trendy farmers’ market, but anything other than junk food: rice, grains, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, bread, peanut butter, a thousand other things cooked at home — in almost every case a far superior alternative.

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