Escaping nutritionism, the Western diet, and avoiding processed food is not as simple as it may seem. Factors that control what you eat include financial status, time, location, and knowledge. Financial status alone plays a large role in what people can and do eat on a daily basis. The food system in the U.S. is designed to increase yields to feed as many people as possible and make those foods the least expensive. The United States government has also subsidized the producers of corn and wheat, which are main ingredients in processed foods. This helps keep prices low and encourages farmers to grow these crops for maximum profit. Although, this leads to problems because those in lower income classes want to maximize the amount of food they get for the least expensive price, leading to those that are financially struggling to be locked into a diet that consists mostly of processed foods.
A diet that focuses more on healthy foods and consists of no processed foods costs about $1.50 more per day, per person (Boyes, 2014). This means that for a family of four, they will be spending on average 6 more dollars a day. Most families in lower income classes that are already financially struggling do not want to spend this extra money, they are most focused on filling up their bellies than feeding on healthier, unprocessed foods.
The United States is making some headway in allowing SNAP to be used at farmers markets which makes it possible for lower income families and/or individuals to purchase fresh, local whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, there is still more that needs to be done to make healthier, non-processed foods less expensive and more accessible. What would happen instead of subsidizing corn and wheat, the government subsidized romaine lettuce and carrots?
Boyes, Christina. “The True Cost of Processed Foods.” Wise Choice Market, Wise Choice
Market, 13 Dec. 2014, www.wisechoicemarket.com/blog/-the-true-cost-of-processed-
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