Fancy Organic Diets Too Expensive?

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When I speak to patients and lecture about the vital importance of whole food based, organic diets, resistance often takes the form of budgetary concerns. We discuss farm to consumer coops, growing sprouts, greens, and veggies, and prioritizing the dirty dozen, and animal products.

  • The Harvard School of Public Health evaluated 27 existing studies from 10 high-income countries that included price data for individual foods and for healthier vs. less healthy diets.
  • Researchers identified a $1.50 price difference between unhealthy processed food diets and whole food diets.
  • They rightfully speculate that government subsidy and infrastructure supportive of access to these foods may account for the difference.

Yet, this daily price difference is trivial in comparison with the lifetime personal and societal financial burdens of  diet-related chronic diseases. For example, suboptimal diet quality was recently estimated to account for 14% of all disability-adjusted life years in 2010 in the USA; if translated to a proportion of national health expenditures in 2012, this corresponds to diet-related health-care costs of $393 billion/year or more than $1200/year for every American.  Our findings highlight the nuanced challenges and the opportunities for reducing financial barriers to healthy eating.”

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About Dr. Kelly Brogan

KELLY BROGAN, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your OwnOwn Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook Integrative Therapies for Depression. She is the founder of the online healing program Vital Mind Reset, and the membership community, Vital Life Project. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from M.I.T. in Systems Neuroscience. She is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. Learn More