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 US adults are obese, and expect that number to grow to 42 per cent 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.