Friday, October 7, 2011

Junk Food is Not Cheaper than Real Food

I always love reading the New York Times' Mark Bittman.   He really appreciates good food, but at the same time knows how to blow bunk out of the water.    This column on why junk food is not cheaper than "real food" shows how it is cheaper to cook then run to McDonalds.    First he notes that it costs a family of four $28 to eat at McDonalds and then says:
In general, despite extensive government subsidies, hyperprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home. You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people. If that’s too much money, substitute a meal of rice and canned beans with bacon, green peppers and onions; it’s easily enough for four people and costs about $9. (Omitting the bacon, using dried beans, which are also lower in sodium, or substituting carrots for the peppers reduces the price further, of course.)

He also has the same opinion of the "junk food is cheaper by the calorie" argument as I do--in a world were obesity runs rampant, people NEED to be eating fewer calories, so the "cheaper by the calorie" is nothing but pure bullsh!t:
Another argument runs that junk food is cheaper when measured by the calorie, and that this makes fast food essential for the poor because they need cheap calories. But given that half of the people in this country (and a higher percentage of poor people) consume too many calories rather than too few, measuring food’s value by the calorie makes as much sense as measuring a drink’s value by its alcohol content. (Why not drink 95 percent neutral grain spirit, the cheapest way to get drunk?)

Bittman also goes on to note that the poor can eat well, without resorting to organic, free-range, grass-fed, etc. The point is to get real food and cook it, not pick up ultra-processed foods on the fly.

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