It’s impossible to escape junk food in today’s society. McDonalds is quite literally everywhere, and it’s very difficult to resist an unhealthy treat every now and then, or all the time in some cases. The blame allegedly falls to junk food being cheaper than healthy food when it comes to obesity, but that simply isn’t the case.
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) have used data from 2 leading supermarket brands and compared the prices of 78 common foods and drinks. You can view their results in a report they’ve published.
Let’s analyse a little bit of what they found. When comparing the edible weight of food items, the cheapest ready-meals cost around £2 per kilogram. Fruit and vegetables on the other hand, cost less than £2 per kilogram. Paying £1 for a cheeseburger is equal to the value of a kilogram of sweet potatoes. Alternatively, you could get 2 kilograms of carrots, 10 apples or 7 bananas for that price.
The IEA states that all previous studies claiming junk food is cheaper have used a flawed methodology. They compared food by its cost-per-calorie rather than the actual edible weight of the food items.
Regardless of which is cheaper, people are always going to go for the unhealthy fast food option anyway. Can you blame them though? Junk food has been engineered to be much more appetizing than the healthy alternatives. Also, the convenience of not having to cook probably makes it a lot more attractive to people.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing these less healthy options – it’s your choice and that’s fine. However, putting the blame on food prices for obesity may not be necessary anymore. Perfectly balancing your diet while regularly exercising is the best way to keep yourself on top form.