Healthy Eating Can Cost Less, Study Finds

Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012 --- 1:37 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Is it really more expensive to eat healthy?

A new Agriculture Department study counters a common perception that junk food is cheaper than a nutritionally balanced meal.

It all depends on how prices are measured. Pastries and processed snacks high in fat, sugar or salt may seem a bargain if the price is measured by calories. By weight or portion size, grains, vegetables and fruits are less expensive.

The cost of eating healthy foods has been the subject of growing debate. Experts warn that a third of U.S. adults are obese, and expect that number to grow to 42 percent by 2030. A report two years ago by University of Washington researchers concluded that calorie-for-calorie, eating junk food is more cost-effective for low-income people than eating healthy.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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