Stop! Put down that Whole Foods muesli for a second. Just because its price tag is in the double-digits, that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be the secret to your longevity. As it turns out, we might be a little too quick to assume that, if a food product costs an arm and a leg, it's probably amazing for our bodies. In fact, a few studies have shown that our assumptions could be taking a very real toll on our diets.
One way that this misconceived assumption plays out is that, if you take a certain food, and tell us it's healthy, we're going to assume it's going to cost us more money. When the same food, on the other hand, is labeled more like a snack food, we're not going to assume it deserves such a wallet-emptying price tag.
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It goes the other way too—we don't think foods are healthy if they don't empty our wallets. Researchers took a protein bar and called it the "Healthiest Protein Bar on the Planet". They told study participants that similar bars cost $2, and then told some that the Healthiest Protein bar cost $4, while telling others that it cost 99 cents. When given the chance to read reviews of the bar, people read more reviews when told it cost 99 cents than when they were told it cost $4, suggesting it was harder for participants to believe that a product could be healthy and affordable.
Healthy foods do tend to cost a little more. It's just that, according to the research, it only costs about $1.50 more per day to eat better, not $20 and four trips to that new, ridiculously priced juice store that just opened on your corner.