The Cost of Healthy Eating: Incompetence or Fraud
According to a recent article, "A new analysis shows healthy eating can really run up a grocery bill, making it tough for Americans on tight budgets to meet nutritional guidelines. The study estimates that getting the average American to the recommended target of just one nutrient, potassium, would cost an additional $380 each year."
Anyone who believes that should Google for "potassium supplement"—priced at $9 for a 120 potassium iodide tabs of 32.5 mg each from one source for $9, 100 caplets of 99 mg of potassium gluconate for $6.87 from another, and about ten cents a pill—with calcium and magnesium thrown in for free—from a third.
The trick is quite simple. The article pretends to be about what healthy eating costs. It is actually about what people who eat healthily spend. Higher income correlates with better education, so people who spend more also, on average, spend better, nutritionally speaking. That is no evidence that good nutrition costs more—and, as a comparison between the price of spareribs and the price of pork and beans or fruit salad would demonstrate, it often does not. Precisely the same analysis could be used to show that people who spend more on rent eat better too.
It is possible, although not likely, that an author could be sufficiently clueless to make the argument and believe it. But not this author. Reading the article it is pretty obvious what axe is being ground.
And I have difficulty believing in an author who thinks that if only the prices of apricots and raisins were sufficiently subsidized, people who currently prefer Happy Meals would switch to fruit salads instead.