A new study from the World Economic Forum has predicted that the global costs of chronic disease will reach $47 trillion by 2030.  These include cancer, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease, and respiratory disease. What’s the connection between these things?

Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and to a some extent, mental illness, are all influenced by what we eat!

The increasingly grain, vegetable oil, and sugar-laden diet that we’ve been eating for the last 30 years has pushed us in to a position where we have the potential to bankrupt the world!!

A lot of the people I work with will come to me with the complaint that it’s too expensive to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet. Buying healthy food or paying for someone to teach you how to eat can cost a little bit more in the short-term, but as we are seeing here, the long-term costs are astronomical.

They way our economic incentives are set up, the subsidies on wheat, corn, and soy make it cheaper to buy those foods rather than quality meats, vegetables, fruits, and tubers. But what most people don’t realize is that we are actually paying more for the wheat, corn, and soy TWICE.

What I argue, is that in the long run it costs much more to eat poor diets than good ones, for a number of reasons:

  1. We’re paying for processed foods twice: Our tax dollars go to subsidies, then we pay for it again in the supermarket.
  2. Processed or “value-added” foods cost more than buying things in bulk. When you have to pay for packaging, processing, and shipping across a nation, 43 cents worth of wheat get sold for a 4 dollar box of cereal.
  3. Health care- whether it comes from out of pocket or from an insurance company, the cost of health services to treat the chronic diseases that result from our lifestyles is astronomical. Buy now, pay later.
  4.  Externalities of industrial agriculture: We can get away with it right now but when the pollution, demineralization of soil, pesticide/insecticide/synthetic fertilizer runoff, etc catch up with this, the costs are going to be devastating.

Once you take in to account the REAL cost of eating processed, grain-based diet, paying for quality food or for Nutrition Programming doesn’t seem so bad.

Always remember, nobody cares about your own health more than you do, so invest in yourself.

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  1. Harper says:

    Therre is an interesting article in the New York Times about the economics of fast food
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/is-junk-food-really-cheaper.html