The High Cost of Cheap Food

This blog is about water, and more specifically, alkaline water.  However, my real goal is to make people aware of their diet so that they can become and stay healthy.   Alkaline water delivers the same health benefits as an alkaline diet in terms of establishing a healthy acidic/alkaline balance, but water doesn’t supply the nutrients that are found in nutritious food.  Water should never be used as a replacement for eating well, but it is part of the big picture when it comes to providing your body with the proper fuel that it needs to operate efficiently.  

I came across an excellent article with the title “Why Quick, Cheap Food Is Actually More Expensive” by Dr. Mark Hyman M. D.  The article was written in 2006, but the information is as relevant today as it was when it was written.  Dr. Hyman is a well recognized author and advocate of eating a healthy diet.  Dr.  Hyman’s website offers a series of books and DVD’s that he has written that focus on diet.   

As usual, I have taken what I think are the most relevant parts of the article and presented them below in order to save you time.   You can check out his somewhat long article at:

The article focuses on the real cost of eating unhealthy food.  Dr. Hayman points out that the real cost of making poor dietary choices is seen in the explosion of cases involving obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Hayman tells us:  “For example, one expert has estimated that healthcare costs related to obesity are $118 billion per year. That’s nearly 12 percent of total healthcare expenditures–and more than twice that caused by smoking!  Seventy-two percent of Americans are overweight and over one third are medically obese.  One in three children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime and the life expectancy of our population is declining for the first time in human history. ” 

Dr. Hyman points out that that ” most of the food we eat is made in plants rather than coming from plants.”  He tells us that  “Since the 1970s–when our agricultural policies where changed to support corn and soy farmers–we’re consuming, on average, an extra 500 calories (mostly in the form of cheap, artificial high-fructose corn syrup) per person (per day).” 

When you consider that the average adult male burns off about 2,000 calories in a day, those extra 500 “empty calories” go a long way to explaining why our society is losing the battle of the bulge and the cases of obesity and Type 2 diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions.  

Dr. Hyman then points out “Corn and soy are also used to feed cattle for the production of meat and dairy.  In fact, 70 percent of the wheat, corn and soy farmed in this country is used to feed animals used for our food. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people–more than the entire human population on Earth!”  

It is stunning to think that it takes 28% more energy to feed the cattle that produce the beef that we eat, than it would take to properly nourish the entire human population of the planet….and that is only for beef and dairy segment of our diet!  The math on eating meat is ugly.

Dr. Hyman tells us his friend Dean Ornish, MD, (the author of “The Spectrum” and inspiration for Bill Clinton’s new dietary regime)  “has shown that a program to teach people to eat better, exercise, and learn stress reduction can prevent heart disease and reduce the need for heart bypass or other treatments. Insurance companies are starting to take notice as some cover the costs for that program. Paying $5,000 for such a program now, Medicare has finally recognized, is better than paying $50,000 later for a cardiac bypass operation.”  All I can say is that eating properly can be achieved by taking time to education yourself without spending a dollar. 

Dr. Hayman provides 4 tips to eating better for less:

* Don’t let your past habits control your future actions when it comes to your diet.

* Be willing to learn new ways to to shop and eat, even if it difficult in the beginning.

* Do your research to find better sources of real nutrients at cheaper prices.  Switching from processed foods to whole foods is a huge step in the right direction.

* Take the time and effort to plan your shopping and to cook meals at home that involved healthier choices.

It is obvious that the world, or should I say that the medical world is waking up to the importance of what we put into our bodies.  It is no longer acceptable to have our governments keep us in the dark about what it takes to become and remain healthy, or for our physicians to limit themselves to repairing us when we are broken.   

Besides providing love and security, there is no greater gift that a mother could give her child that the gift of good health.  Instead of leaving the health of our children to others, we need to take this responsibility on ourselves and be diligent in giving our children the tools to be healthy and strong.  It is not an impossible task.  In fact, once the proper lessons are provided, our children will “get it” much faster than we ever did.  Lead by example and be patient.  It doesn’t have to be accomplished in a day.

The opinions in this article are those of the author and the those that are quoted in the article, and are not meant as medical advice.

2 Responses to The High Cost of Cheap Food

  1. Hi Rob,

    Another great article. Thanks.

    I think we are all guilty at times of saying “that’s too much to pay for food” and yet we are more than willing to throw money at non essentials. Part of it is the cost of looking good, we really care too much about what other people think. If we all spent as much time learning about the truly important aspects of living a healthy life, I have a sneaking suspicion that society as a whole would be better off.

    I read a few years back that in North America less than 10 percent of income was spent on nutrition as opposed to 14 percent in Europe. Even the European number is low when you look at historical cost of our ancestors paid, maybe not in money but in time. After all time is money as they say.

    I am reading an absolutely wonderful book about diet at the moment. A must read for anybody who is serious about health.

    Natural Hormonal Enhancement by Rob Faigin.

    Rob goes through and describes how since the start of agriculture our bodies have been fueled more and more with sustenance that not designed for our bodies, the damage it’s doing and how to go about fixing it by balance our hormones using food. Even better is the plan doesn’t count calories and let’s you eat ALL the things you love.

    Check it out at

    I am about to embark this lifestyle, will keep you posted as how I am getting on.

    • Hi Jody:

      Great to hear from you again.

      Jody has become a friend of mine over the last year or two and he is a true friend to the water industry.

      I will put Rob Faigin’s book on my list of books I need to ready. If you are recommending the book, I will read it.

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