Sunday, November 20, 2011

Healthy Foods Don't Have Higher Costs

What do you value more: your health or your money?

Most people would immediately say, “My health of course!”  But is that really true?  Due to some people’s finances, I understand that some may have to sacrifice the health benefits of high quality food and purchase lower quality.  However, in many cases, individuals who can easily afford healthier foods choose to settle for more convenient, unhealthy options.  Here are a couple of simple questions that will describe the problem that exists with many Americans today. 

1. Would you rather pay for an Extra Value Meal from McDonald's or a healthier chicken salad that is double the price?  

Many people would choose the Extra Value Meal and not think twice.  Unfortunately, such an individual may only be considering the monetary cost of this meal.  Do you not consider the “health cost” at all?  Is your long-term health not worth the extra money?  

Here’s another question: 

2.  When choosing a drink with your meal, you have two options: a) a fountain drink (water is not available at the fountain), or b) bottled water that is double the price of the fountain drink.  Which would you choose?

Once again, many people would choose the fountain drink because the bottled water has a higher monetary cost.  Even if you have a diet drink, if you read my blog on diet soda, you’d know that the health cost associated with a diet drink is much higher than water.

So what’s the point of all this?  With every food or drink that we consume, we must not only consider the monetary cost, but also the health cost. It's quite simple:

Total Meal Cost = Monetary Cost + Health Cost

In our first example, although an extra value meal has a much lower monetary cost than a grilled chicken salad, the health cost is significantly higher.  Similarly, a cheap fountain drink also has a lower monetary cost than bottled water, but the health cost is significantly higher.  You don’t pay these health costs up front but you will eventually, through doctor visits, hospital bills, prescriptions, quick fix weight loss strategies (fat burners, liposuction, gastric bypass surgery, HCG diet etc.), and emotional distress associated with low self-esteem.  Also, if you’re running a company, don’t forget to consider the healthcare insurance costs of each employee for fees from the aforementioned list.

And even for those who eat healthy, the unhealthy eating of others still affects you, so it is still important to encourage others to do the same.  Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will help to reduce the amount of money taken from YOUR INCOME to finance public healthcare, such as Medicare.

So ask yourself, which option truly has the greater cost?

Dr. O 
"I don't live to eat...I eat to live!"


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