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Why eating healthy is so expensive in America


With ten dollars, you can buy this many donuts. And this many apples. If you opt for the donuts, you get a lot more
calories. But not all calories are created equal. Apples contain fiber and vitamins while donuts
are full of saturated fats and chemically processed ingredients. Even though apples are healthier for you,
you have to eat more of them to get the same number of calories as one donut. And it would cost you about five more dollars,
which means… the cost-effective choice is usually not the nutritionally-sound one. There’s a strong relationship between diets that are
low in fruits and vegetables and obesity and diabetes. These two chronic diseases now
rank among the nation’s gravest health concerns. Produce is essential for a healthy diet, but
Americans aren’t eating enough of it. And part of the problem is cost. So what can be done to add more produce to
the American plate? Fresh vegetables and fruits are often more expensive
to farm than other types of crops that end up in processed foods. For example, fresh strawberries have to be
picked by hand. But strawberries destined for preserves can
be harvested by a machine. Bumps and bruises don’t matter in the process,
and machines are more efficient and cheaper in the long-run than human labor. This extra work is reflected in the price
difference between fresh strawberries and other crops, and it also makes fresh strawberries
more expensive to buy than processed strawberries Government subsidies also play a role in the
cost difference. For example, the USDA doesn’t subsidize
leafy vegetable crops in the same way it subsidizes wheat, soy, and corn. These three crops make up a lot of processed
food, so products full of high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil have an unfair advantage. When it comes to cost, the less nutritious
food will win out. Other incentives are needed to keep people
away from cheap, processed foods. Taxes on products on tobacco and alcohol have
been effective at curbing consumption. This line shows the average price per pack
of cigarettes over the past forty years The rising prices are partly fueled by federal
and state cigarette tax increases in 1983, throughout the early 2000’s, and 2009. Meanwhile, per capita cigarette consumption
(shown by this line) has steadily decreased as prices have gone up. And researchers are arguing that what need
to start thinking about a junk food tax.The tax would focus on non-essential food items
like candy, soda and potato chips. These unhealthy foods would be taxed at the
manufacturing level, and higher costs at checkout could steer customers toward healthier options. But a junk food tax alone won’t fix obesity. Or the already high costs of a healthy diet… So what can be done? We could make healthy produce sexy. Okay, well there are other things too. To address the cost issue, some programs are
springing up that make produce more affordable for lower-income people, through subsidies. And since 2014, the USDA has granted over
$65 million to expand these programs throughout the US. There’s also the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription
Program or FvRX. Doctors can give vouchers for produce to low-income
patients who are at high-risk of diet-related disease. Growing produce in home or community gardens
can encourage healthy eating with little investment, but finding time to cook, let alone garden,
can be a burden for families. We don’t yet know which strategies and programs
are work best, but they’re worth testing for one simple reason: if Americans ate a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, and more fruits and vegetables,
we know they’d be a whole lot healthier.

Randall Smitham

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Vox Posted on March 22, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Even for those who want to eat healthy, picking the right diet can be tricky.

    Watch our video on the ketogenic diet, the latest fad in eating healthy: http://bit.ly/2DNkjZh

    Reply
  2. sfbuck415 Posted on September 6, 2019 at 2:06 am

    it might be hard to get the same amount of calories in 10 donuts, but who needs that many calories? also, eating just one thing isn't good, whether it's apples or donuts.

    Reply
  3. あやの Posted on September 6, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    strawberry cost six dollars here where I live

    Reply
  4. iTzliquizz Posted on September 7, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Since when do apples contain 130 kcal? As far as I know they have around 50..

    Reply
  5. this is a load of barnacles Posted on September 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    In Pennsylvania i can get over 50 apples for $10-$15 by picking them at the local farm when they are in season. Same with blueberries I can get a mountain of them for the same price.

    Reply
  6. Junayd Ismail Posted on September 7, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    y tf ur apples so expensive

    Reply
  7. Tony 818 Posted on September 8, 2019 at 4:49 am

    Depends how you shop. Supermarkets have specials on certain days

    Reply
  8. Verga Kombat Posted on September 10, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    With 10 Euros in Italy you get 10 kilos of apples and maybe half a Kilo of fresh Tomatoes. If you go to a farm market maybe even more. They even give you basil and fresh rosemary for free, even celery and all kinds of veggies. From these year the government has created a law in which throwing food on a dumpster for supermarket is considered a crime. Because of that tons and tons of good food are destined to homeless people (there are not so many actually) and low income families.

    Reply
  9. King David Posted on September 10, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    This is true in my country too.

    Reply
  10. discopoe Posted on September 11, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Regarding your argument about cigarette prices: Correlation does not mean causation. Omg, go to school again!

    Reply
  11. Keyboard Warrior Posted on September 13, 2019 at 12:30 am

    a lot of people who are obese can afford healthy foods they just chose not too

    Reply
  12. M Alghamdi Posted on September 13, 2019 at 3:13 am

    $10 get you almost 7 kilos of apples in Saudi Arabia and it taste better and more natural.

    Reply
  13. Be Ready G Posted on September 13, 2019 at 4:44 am

    Listen! Even though it cost more money upfront to eat healthy… It will save you more money in the long run as you avoid multiple trips to the hospital for making the right choice to not continuously eat unhealthy foods like donuts. Invest in your health! It will pay off

    Reply
  14. Haś ka Posted on September 14, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    10 dollar for 5 apples? Wow! In Poland 1 kilogram of apples cost now max 4.80 zł which is around 1.02 USD!

    Reply
  15. tie tie Posted on September 14, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    noo i love my junk dont take it from me 👎🏾😬🍔>🍎

    Reply
  16. tie tie Posted on September 14, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    noo i love my junk dont take it from me 👎🏾😬🍔>🍎

    Reply
  17. lola turtle Posted on September 15, 2019 at 1:32 am

    Wth have u been buying your apples lol $10?

    Reply
  18. Pen L Posted on September 15, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    lol you can buy more apples then donuts here

    im in America

    Reply
  19. xEnjoyTheMoment Posted on September 16, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Why don't we spend the money used to subsidize grains, eggs, dairy and meat on subsidizing produce? Just a thought.

    Reply
  20. London Gordon Posted on September 20, 2019 at 4:28 am

    Keep the bad food cheap
    Keep them sick to buy pharmaceuticals
    Keep them poor for working at a job that doesn't pay enough
    Keep them paying more than they can save
    Keep them at a job that pays less for more of their time .
    It's all a game .

    Reply
  21. Krysuna Posted on September 21, 2019 at 4:33 am

    shoot this video made me remember I have blueberries in my fridge I bought a week ago….

    Reply
  22. Tiara Burns Posted on September 21, 2019 at 7:02 am

    Apples Do NOT cost that much. You can get a bag of 9 apples for $2.99. The organic ones are $3.99. Where are your sources hun?

    Reply
  23. mustafa al falahi Posted on September 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    In Iraq apples are like 2 dinars per kilo lol 😂

    Reply
  24. mustafa al falahi Posted on September 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    In Iraq apples are like 2 dinars per kilo lol 😂

    Reply
  25. Lunaiii :D Posted on September 22, 2019 at 10:18 am

    In Denmark sweets, snacks etc. are seen as luxury goods. They have a higher tax and are much more expensive. Because of that a healthy lifestyle is always affordable.

    Reply
  26. satria amiluhur Posted on September 24, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Grocery store? Don't you guys have traditional market where farmers can directly sell their produce to the buyers? In my country it's everywhere and everything is dirt cheap. The cheapest apple in grocery stores is like 0.3 dollar each but in traditional markets, with some haggling, you can get it for just 0,1 dollar. It's funny to be honest. Modernism is supposed to make your life easier, not harder

    Reply
  27. MackZ ALDC Posted on September 28, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Solution: don't eat too much

    Reply
  28. K N Posted on September 29, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    So they can make money from medical bills

    Reply
  29. Danielle Morén Posted on September 29, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    I find it absurd that you can buy a hamburger for 1 dollar at McDonald's for less than it would have cost to make it your own. That's essentialy the problem atm, when you can buy cheap good tasting junk food for less than making your own healthier alternative.

    Reply
  30. J.G. Gennedy Posted on October 2, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    ??? $2 apples? Are these honey crisp or something? If you are on a budget you wouldn't buy honey crisp apples. You would do for red delicious or something.

    Reply
  31. Jazy Bomber Posted on October 2, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Taxing chips (nope). I'm not in healthy but no

    Reply
  32. WarWeasel Posted on October 6, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    1:51 Except that people don't need cigarettes and whiskey to survive. If the can't afford food, they won't just be uncomfortable, they'll be DEAD.

    Reply
  33. Prajwal Randive Posted on October 9, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    In India we have almost 50 to 60 RS for apple (0.8dollars) while Dunkin donuts cost above 140 RS (2 dollars

    Reply
  34. PancakesPusheen ! Posted on October 13, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    so that the pharmaceutical industry can get more of our money off of our obesity related illnesses.

    Reply
  35. JerryAnimationZ Posted on October 13, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Dude, this list is exaggerated. In california, newyork, miami, and the really REALLy big cities, its this expensive. EVERYWHERE else in the united states, you can buy a bag of fruit for 0.35$. This list is EXTREMELY exaggerated.

    Reply
  36. angel marte Posted on October 21, 2019 at 7:40 am

    This is so untrue! I live in America and it is way easier for us to eat healthy than it is in the United States.

    Reply
  37. cannibalbananas Posted on October 24, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    1) Donuts usually taste better than apples besides being cheaper.
    2) I can buy generic jelly making it cheaper than the Smucker's jar, but fresh fruit is typically the same price no matter where you shop, so that can be a difference of over $2.
    3) The jelly will last at least a week in my house and make several sandwiches, while the strawberries will be gone in a sitting, so the cost of the strawberries is even higher when you account for how many meals you get out of it.

    Reply
  38. njhotroder Posted on October 25, 2019 at 4:35 am

    Get rid of the chemicals that r put in food. Go back to the original formulas of everything pre 1980 and the obesity epidemic will stop. Culprit…. fructose corn syrup. Read a medical biochem book and see what how this is processed in body. There is reason its banned in most countries world wide. Gmos and other chemicals r part of the problem too. Google chemicals found on ingrident lists in food and then read medical biochemistry books. Then u will realize what your eating…..

    Reply
  39. The Dankest Meme Posted on October 28, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Take a junk food tax, use the money from that to subsidize produce. While also running large scale healthy eating campaigns

    Reply
  40. Jessica Jugs Posted on November 6, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    Can get like 12 apples at Walmart for 4.97$ .. organic ones for around 8

    Reply
  41. Brandon Posted on November 7, 2019 at 6:29 am

    To think 1 in 3 American's is obese is a serious slap of reality… Processed food is more expensive than real food~

    Reply
  42. first last Posted on November 8, 2019 at 7:32 am

    . One thing that adds to cost is perish-ability. Plenty of fresh produce needs to get thrown out because it isn't sold fast enough, even more gets thrown out at home because it's not eaten fast enough. You can freeze most produce but I think most people don't bother. Which is why prefrozen produce can be cheaper despite the extra energy cost to keep it constantly frozen.

    That perish-ability goes beyond selling it fast enough and using it fast enough, stuff that can be save for a long time can be bought in bulk and brought in from other countries easier that might pay their workers less and have less stringent environmental protections and so on.

    Reply
  43. J. L. Zero Posted on November 8, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Meanwhile in Germany:
    You can buy at least 2 weeks worth of vegetables on the Lokal market for 6 bucks.
    For the same price you get 2 frozen pizzas.
    Yeah, junk food is relatively expensive over here.

    Reply
  44. Jay Romeo Posted on November 10, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    Allow people to grow food on their front lawns. Allows for more available fresh food right at the door step. No need to go to the grocery store, pay the high costs that pay for transport, storing, cleaning. And it will always be fresh.

    Reply
  45. Senses YT Posted on November 12, 2019 at 2:28 am

    How is eating pesticide healthy

    Reply
  46. David Ngure Posted on November 12, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    $10 buys 50 apples in kenya😂😂

    Reply
  47. Corner Post Meats Posted on November 12, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Great info, I realize lots of folks on his channel might not eat meat, and I respect your choice. However for those who do eat meat , when its raised ethically and responsibly it makes it much more expensive. Doing the right thing is rarely cheap or easy

    Reply
  48. Rusty Nickels Posted on November 15, 2019 at 6:21 am

    You can actually get about 17.5 organic apples for $10 in the US. I just checked. That's 57¢ per apple. Do your research, Vox.

    Reply
  49. flamin marshmello Posted on November 19, 2019 at 2:48 am

    so we should essentially be vegans

    Reply
  50. Nova Verse Posted on November 20, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Local fruit produce is something every country should strive for, and with some effort and knowledge we could innovate that in unique ways as well.

    Reply
  51. Origami and Cats Posted on November 21, 2019 at 7:20 am

    The powerful in the government would love it if you would relinquish a little more freedom and hand them more control. And it's like time. It only moves in one direction. They'll tax the junk food and instead of using the money to subsidize healthy food, they'll give it to their "supporters". Are you based in the USA, Vox? Because you're really out of touch.

    Reply
  52. Ivy Odame Posted on November 24, 2019 at 1:15 am

    As an American: 5 apples are not $10 dollars. A bag of apples is like $4 lol they need to chill. 😅😅

    Reply
  53. Cannabis Kitchen Posted on November 24, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Umm a apple doesn't cost 2$

    Reply
  54. Natalia Kleinjan Posted on November 25, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    They must be buying apples from Trader Joe's if they're that expensive

    Reply
  55. The Hobbit Posted on November 26, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Apples are cheap tho

    Reply
  56. Love God Posted on November 27, 2019 at 10:39 am

    I'm a Indian and after seeing their food this is heartbreaking for me I wanna kil myself

    Reply
  57. Boutique Bitcoin Posted on November 28, 2019 at 5:22 am

    What we need is not higher junk food but lower healthy food so people can afford it!

    Reply
  58. mike askme Posted on November 28, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Invest in a instapot.

    Reply
  59. Jacob Kauffman Posted on December 1, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    If you prepare food at home, healthy food is way cheaper than jink/unhealthy food. Potatoes, Eggs, carrots, celery, The trouble with Americans is, they eat when not hungry. If you are hungry, an apple would be a very satisfying thing to eat

    Reply
  60. Jim Zh Posted on December 2, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Dump all the cigarette taxes into medicalcare for other Americans.

    Reply
  61. Hoodiefoodie Posted on December 3, 2019 at 5:56 am

    dont force me to give up fried chicken :O

    Reply
  62. Brandon Byrd Posted on December 4, 2019 at 5:05 am

    America, advocate for healthy eating.
    Makes healthy eating more expensive, than actual junkfood.

    Reply
  63. Mioney Posted on December 5, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Lol 100₱ in Philippines is already 1 kilo of apples or 2$

    Reply
  64. Jake Shatswell Posted on December 5, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Gatekeeping discounts behind doctors is a horrible idea, how are the poorest people supposed to get a prescription for some blueberries when they cannot even afford to the doctor?

    Reply
  65. ebbhead20 Posted on December 7, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    As long as I'm not living in one of those remote places where a orange is 300 dollar and a water mellon is 1200 $ 😏

    Reply
  66. 1 Smokey Posted on December 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Why do american eat like they have free healthcare??

    Reply
  67. Ramil Melikzade Posted on December 7, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    @t about eating //// look and say thanks

    Reply
  68. Fok Entertainment Posted on December 9, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Did you get those apples from LV or Supreme? even whole food's isn't that expensive……

    Reply
  69. THE SOUL Posted on December 12, 2019 at 1:33 am

    I'm broke asf becuase of this might as well just grow but my manager would kick us out and evict us….freaking food deserts

    Reply
  70. Alka Kindo Posted on December 13, 2019 at 9:11 am

    It's the same almost everywhere.

    Reply
  71. 1 Hour Posted on December 14, 2019 at 5:50 am

    Solution: Apple donuts

    Reply
  72. Saffron Sinclair Posted on December 14, 2019 at 5:57 am

    Cause you gotta grow apples and wait for the season when it’s ripe. Donuts are made all year around.

    Reply
  73. Brian Fong Posted on December 15, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    0:00 That is not a fair comparison for 5 apples.
    Those 5 apples are organic, hand-picked, fair trade, and from Whole Foods.

    Reply
  74. Sion Blade Posted on December 17, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Because healthy people are nonprofitable for the US' so called ''Healthcare'' system.

    Reply
  75. Vid Prasad Posted on December 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    US doesn’t have a sugar tax?

    Reply
  76. Andrei ??? Posted on December 18, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    In my country you can buy 34kg of apples with 10 bucks

    Reply
  77. Liam McNamara Posted on December 20, 2019 at 12:31 am

    Taxing unhealthy food does not make healthy food cheaper

    Reply
  78. Cid Andrews Posted on December 20, 2019 at 4:01 am

    i love how this video didnt actually explain why the healthy foods themselves are inherently expensive

    Reply
  79. John Perez Posted on December 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Apples don't cost that much they are about $1.50 per pound

    Reply
  80. Chong! Jojun! Balsa! Posted on December 24, 2019 at 12:45 am

    5 apples in Russia cost 1,5 dollar (the cheapest). And 5 donuts 2 dollars.

    Reply
  81. Laurentiu Iacob Posted on December 27, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Idk man , when the population prefer to eat only donuts and pizza all day ofcourse they ll get cheaper than healty food. Start buying healty food more and you will see some of them will get cheaper. Here in Romania an apple is around 0.25$..

    Reply
  82. Mariah had a little Lamb Posted on December 27, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Supply and demand. As long as there is a demand for unhealthy foods, this will continue.

    Reply
  83. Sarfaraz Erahdun Posted on December 27, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    5 apples for $10 … i can buy 10 apples for $1(rs36 in my country)

    Reply
  84. Albino Pineapple Posted on December 27, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    I think healthy foods does not only cost more in the USA, but almost everywhere. Which make it hard to go healthy when you only have a very limited income and going healthy would eat up more than half of your income. If a large company found a way to sell junks at affordable price, I hope there's also a way that they can sell healthy foods at affordable price.

    Reply
  85. Senn Zwyygart Posted on December 28, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Just grow an apple tree in your garden! You people are so silly.

    Reply
  86. Harry Shen Posted on December 29, 2019 at 3:33 am

    Where did you get that apple price? 8 small organic Gala apples in Costco cost 3.99. 8 organic bananas cost 1.99. I think they're perfect for weekly consumption. I don't think prices of those two are higher in Walmart. The non organic ones are even cheaper.

    Reply
  87. Shauntel Gill Posted on December 31, 2019 at 4:46 am

    one organic brocoolli 1.79
    fresh string beans 2.49
    organic kale 1.29
    A can of black beans 0.99
    A bag of quinoa 6.79
    Total cost 13.66
    What excuse do you have to not eat healthy that is what is wrong with these Americans not all of them but alot of them are always making a bunch of excuses in life!

    Reply
  88. marshall jarnagin Posted on January 3, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Rather than adding taxes, decreasing food waste as well as meat consumption can lead to more cheaply available fresh food.

    Reply
  89. Abdeljalil Posted on January 4, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    IN Europe is very cheap 1 kg of apples u find it 1,50/2,00 € but sometimes u find it 1,00€ a lot of fruit comes from Africa or Latin America, I mean it s way more near to the USA why don't import cheap fruit from Latin America?

    Reply
  90. lorenzo pippia Posted on January 7, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Lower the cost of healthy food is the only option

    Reply
  91. lorenzo pippia Posted on January 7, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Workers' wages should be increased.
    Companies should be forced to lower the costs of healthy products.
    That's the only way to provide help to the middle class

    Reply
  92. lorenzo pippia Posted on January 7, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    The American Empire is eventually going to fall.
    Russia and China will take over

    Reply
  93. that one guy Posted on January 11, 2020 at 3:31 am

    Where tf are they shopping food isn't that expensive. Also strawberries in general Are one of the more expensive fruits. This video is so poorly made and misinforming. My family lived on food stamps For a while in the poorest state and we still ate healthy

    Reply
  94. Lushia Kyobi Posted on January 11, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    We need not just fruits and vegetables, but real food. Chicken, fish, eggs, rice, fermented foods and more, without any of it being deep-fried or processed. Think Japanese diet. I think their food is tasty, but it's also exponentially healthier in comparison to a diet of burgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, fries etc…..

    Reply
  95. Dennis Sanders Posted on January 12, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Keep in mind people, Vox is based in the big cities.

    Reply
  96. leplane Posted on January 17, 2020 at 5:02 am

    I had a conversation with my American friend. He couldn't understand why in my country healthy food is fairly priced, and not marked up as it is in US.

    Reply
  97. Jordan Evers Posted on January 20, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    We should ban all known cancer causing agents in our foods , aspartame , and ace sulfate to name a few !

    Reply
  98. Mark Reaves Posted on January 22, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    For $10 in my area of the USA, you can get the following:
    * One large pepperoni pizza from a pizza joint
    * About five apples
    * Three head of broccoli
    * One small steak
    * Three pounds of cheap ground hamburger
    * 10 corndogs, already cooked and ready to eat
    * Two whole chickens, already cooked, ready to eat
    * 10 cheeseburgers from a fast food joint
    * 10 hot dogs from a hot dog joint
    * A family size pack of hot dogs
    * Twelve 8-pk of hamburger or hot dog buns
    * 9 loaves of bread
    * About 40 pounds of self-rising flour
    * 14 pounds of pinto beans
    * About 4 tomatoes
    * About 15 pounds of potatoes
    * 3 gallons of milk
    * About 100 eggs
    * About five items of assorted produce
    * About two small or one large watermelon
    * One bag of salad mix
    * Three bottles of salad dressing

    On a cost per calorie basis, it is always cheaper to eat junk than it is to eat healthy. On a nutritional basis, the junk is junk. Sure, you can get enough calories using wheat flour to make bread for dirt cheap (or even just buy the cheap bread), but there is pretty much no real nutrition in it.

    Reply
  99. Kazuya Tamahome Posted on January 23, 2020 at 9:16 am

    In one dollar in PH you can eat two or three apples.

    Reply
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