Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? (6.78 MB PDF) It turns out that it depends on how you measure the price. In a recent study by the USDA, some 4,439 foods were compared using the following metrics: the price of food energy ($/calorie), the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams), the price of an average portion ($/average portion), and the cost of meeting the federal dietary recommendations for each food group. The study found that for all metrics except the price of food energy ($/calorie) healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations).
Why Wal-Mart Is Making Our Health Its Problem - "So what's behind the [healthier-eating] initiative? In a word: scale. In a recent article in HBR, Chris Meyer and I argued that we'll see companies taking more and more ownership of externalities they could ignore because of changing sensibilities and better sensors (meaning detection and reporting of impacts by third parties). But we also identified a third driver: the scale of modern business. Whereas in the past, a single grocer could not have much impact on society, in today's highly consolidated market, Wal-Mart touches a significant percentage of the nation's food intake. Once you reach a scale where your decisions have ramifications for millions, it is hard to pretend that the impacts, even as distant ripples, are not your problem."
Eating healthy on a budget isn't just for hipsters on food stamps. While some have called Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman's ideas about cooking and eating "elitist," there are many cooks who are smart enough to know that cooking at home is the only way to eat healthy on a budget. While Jamie Oliver pledges to give all school children "10 recipes that will save their lives," almost anyone on any budget can change the way they shop for, prepare, and think about food. [more inside]
Fast Food Apartheid: The Los Angeles City Council has placed a one-year moratorium on the opening of fast-food restaurants in sections of the city with low-income residents. The council says it's meant to encourage healthy fare in locations that lack ready access to supermarkets and healthy restaurant. This columnist calls it "fast food apartheid." We're not talking anymore about preaching diet and exercise, disclosing calorie counts, or restricting sodas in schools. We're talking about banning the sale of food to adults. Treating French fries like cigarettes or liquor.
I told you Ecstasy was good for you. "The study of Ecstasy for the terminally ill will involve 12 cancer patients who have less than a year to live. They'll receive varying doses during two strictly supervised therapeutic sessions. The drug, once hailed as 'penicillin for the soul,' is a chemical cousin to amphetamines that reportedly induces feelings of profound empathy. It will be combined with traditional psychotherapy, and, [Dr.] Halpern hopes, 'enable them to open up in therapy so they can talk about challenging issues and resolve their grief.'" (reg rq'd)