Is The Cost of Eating Paleo Worth It?


Screen-Shot-2012-05-31-at-3.12.46-PM.pngOne of the main concerns with going Paleo is always the cost of the food, so I wanted to take a moment to really clear that argument up.

The last blog post I wrote was about how you can eat Paleo on a budget. This blog post will show you that even if you don’t eat the same 6 ingredients day in and day out to try to save money, you will nevertheless probably be saving money in the longrun. Let’s begin.

You’re health is fine, right?

But really, how overweight are you? How much weight did you gain last year, or the year before? Was it 3 pounds, 5 pounds, 20 pounds? Did you decide at that point that you could be ok with your new weight, and that this is just what happens when you get older? Well, those 3 pounds every year over the next 10 years will end up being 30 pounds. And if you continued to gain 20 pounds a year, you’d be 200 pounds heavier in 10 years. Get where I’m going with this?

Obesity and diabetes go hand in hand.

In fact, one study found that obese people have a 27.6-times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people at a normal weight.

The following horrifying info comes from the CDC here.

  • Among U.S. residents aged 20 years and older, 25.6 million, or 11.3%, had diabetes in 2010.
  • Among U.S. residents aged 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9%, had diabetes in 2010.
  • 35% of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older had prediabetes (50% of adults aged 65 years or older). Applying this percentage to the entire U.S. population in 2010 yields an estimated 79 million American adults aged 20 years or older with prediabetes.
  • That means that 104.6 million Americans were on a straight path to diabetes, or were already diagnosed. That’s like one-third of the country…
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death, and it’s a major contributor to heart disease and stroke.

Are you overweight? Obese? Find out here. Because if you are, and you’re on your own way to having diabetes, then you’re in for a hell of a time financially down the road. Medical expenditures for people with diabetes are double those of normal people, averaging out at $11,744 in 2007. It’s not just blood glucose-lowering drugs, which by the way, just for ONE medication for diabetes, Metformin, it can cost anywhere from $4 to $100 per month for someone without insurance. It’s also all of the awful things that go along with having diabetes, like foot infections, blindness, sleep aids for sleep apnea, kidney infections and failure, cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure-lowering drugs, and blood glucose monitoring tools, plus all the visits to the doctor, among other things.

How much do obesity and diabetes cost?

So let’s see here. $11,744 per year (and that was in 2007, so who knows how much it is now?) divided by 12 months is about $1,000 per month for a person who has diabetes. If both you and your husband/wife have diabetes, that’d be $2,000 per month.

Average American households currently spend about 12% of their income on food. So if you’re making $45,000 a year, you’d be spending about $5,500 a year on food (groceries and going out). That’s $458 per month for the whole family. The average Paleo/Primal eater, according to a casual survey done by Mark Sisson here, spends about $250 per month per person on food. If you have an average household of 2 adults and 2 kids, you’d be spending around $1,000 on food per month, depending on the age of your kids.

So, is it worth it?

Yes, that’s about $500 more per month than the average American family, but as you saw in the last post, you can do it for even cheaper than that, and I know a lot of families who do. Even if you do spend that amount, though, it’s still less expensive than becoming obese and being on several medications, seeing doctors regularly, and having continually increasing insurance premiums. The co-pays for meds, even if you’re insured, can be more than $200 a month alone. Not to mention the mental and physical anguish of having these diseases, feeling tired and crappy all the time, not being able to do much physical activity, and knowing that your lifespan will likely be shorter than your healthy peers’.

Would you rather pay a little more per person every month now for wholesome groceries and be a healthy, comfortable, non-obese person with normal insurance rates? Or would you rather pay later financially and physically? Eating Paleo, or any diet that’s better than the standard American one, will help you stay at a healthy weight, avoid diabetes and heart disease, and keep your medical costs down.

So to sum it up, yes, the cost of eating Paleo is definitely worth it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.