Healthy Diet Costs More

January 4, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. substantial /səbˈstænʃəl/ (adj.) – considerable in amount, especially information or money
Example: The substantial information provided by the newspaper helps people become aware of the deadly disease.

2. negligible /ˈnɛglɪdʒəbəl/ (adj.) – being very small that it can be disregarded
Example: The customer did not mind the negligible difference on the price of a fresh fish and a frozen fish.

3. course /kɔrs, koʊrs/ (n.) – a length of time
Example: He has earned more than a million dollars in the course of just one year.

4. cut back /kʌt bæk/ (idiom) – to decrease or reduce
Example: The farmers cut back the cost of fruits and vegetables due to low demand from the consumers.

5. efficient /ɪˈfɪʃənt/ (adj.) – able to function with the least waste
ExampleEfficient machines improve the production of processed foods.


Read the text below.
A recent study showed that a healthy diet costs more than the least healthy diet.

The study was conducted in eight countries with advanced economies—the United States, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, New Zealand, and Japan—and in two middle-income countries—South Africa and Brazil. 

The study conducted an overview of 27 researches that have substantial information on the composition of people’s diet and its cost. Diets that contained more fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts were ranked as healthier compared to diets that consisted of processed foods, meats, and refined grains. 

The study found that on average, a person spends $1.50 more per day for the healthiest food than the least healthy ones. According to Darius Mozaffarian of Harvard Medical School, this cost difference is much smaller than expected.

He added that this amount is negligible compared to the huge sum of money that people spend on hospitalization and medication for diet-related conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

However, Mozaffarian stressed that although $1.50 may be a small amount, it could accumulate to $550 per person in the course of one year. This accumulated amount may present a real burden to some families. Hence, policies are encouraged to cut back the prices of these healthy foods.  

The efficient and high-profit system of farming, making, and selling of processed foods is the main cause of the gap in the costs of healthy and unhealthy food. The researchers are hoping that the difference in the costs may be eliminated if this inexpensive and efficient system is also applied to healthier foods.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your country, is there a small or a big difference in the cost of healthy and unhealthy foods? Why is that so?
·         After reading this article, were you encouraged to have a healthy diet? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why is having a healthy diet important?
·         How else can people have a healthier lifestyle? Explain.


January 4, 2014