Doctor's Note

For more on eating healthy on a budget, see my video Superfood Bargains, and the follow-up Biggest Nutrition Bang For Your BuckThe Effect of Canned Tuna on Future Wages offers a perspective from the other side of the health/wealth equation.

Note that the Harvard paper is open access, so you can download its entirety by clicking on the link in the Sources Cited section above.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts:  Uric Acid From Meat and Sugar, and Best Nutrition Bang For Your Buck.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For more on eating healthy on a budget, see my video Superfood Bargains and the follow-up Biggest Nutrition Bang For Your Buck. The Effect of Canned Tuna on Future Wages offers a perspective from the other side of the health/wealth equation. Just three of the hundreds of my videos on more than a thousand subjects—enjoy! Note that the Harvard paper is open access, so you can download its entirety by clicking on the link above in the Sources Cited section.

  • I’ve begun to spend most of my time in the produce section anyway. Anything I need outside of that section, pretty much more than doubles my spending sometimes.

  • Thea

    This video is very helpful for the newbies.  I can not tell you how often I have had conversations with people who tell me that they can’t afford to eat healthy.  They have been brainwashed by the media.  You’ll notice that this study has received exactly zero media attention.

    Having videos like this can be helpful in educating the masses.  At least I have an easy reference to back me up. 

  • Guest

    I’d like some clarification on just what we should be buying to save our money and health. I find that buying nuts is a pretty expensive proposition and that if I eat very many of them, 1/4 of a cup a day or more, I tend to put on some weight. I’m still dieting a few days a week to compensate, even on a vegan diet. I tend to loose weight during the week, and pack it on during the weekends. It’s very difficult to keep my goal of a BMI of 22. I was there 2 or 3 weeks ago, and then gained 9 pounds.  I’m wondering if there may also be a problem with getting too much in the way of saturated fats or too high an omega-6/omega-3 ratio with nuts.I don’t know anything except what I’ve read, and I’ve read that this ratio also be a problem in eating whole grains and seeds too. I’ve cut back on whole grains etc. for this reason and usually only have 2-3 servings a day. Yet if I totally eliminate grains, nuts and seeds, will I get enough calories on just vegetables, fruit and a few legumes? Of course, I don’t want to eat too many legumes for social reasons. So, is there no ideal diet, but only a compromise between healthy vegetables, the fruits which may have too much sugar, and the other foods mentioned above that also have their problems? And I haven’t even mentioned lectins, phytates, trypsin inhibitors and other nasties. At least, you’ve shown that not everything causes cancer! Reading the above, I’m wondering if I’m not orthorexic.

    • pam ella

      It seems the obvious answer is to aim for a plant-strong diet/lifestyle – and even more so to LEARN TO LOVE BEANS!  They are the answer.  And the social issue?  Join with others on the same eat-to-live path and it isn’t an issue:)
      This answer is not meant to be flippant.  It is genuine.
      With love xxx

      • val

        Potatoes and sweet potatoes are also very inexpensive AND filling in addition to the beans…as long as you INCLUDE the peel.

    • Mike Quinoa

      I think if you eat beans on a regular basis, then gas becomes not much of a issue. At least that’s been my experience.

      Regarding the topic of the video, I find a vegan diet quite inexpensive. For example, for breakfast this morning I had steel-cut oats with sliced banana, blackberries, walnut pieces, and some organic unsweetened soy milk to moisten it all. I also like to eat some romaine lettuce leaves for breakfast as I find they are quite rehydrating. (Note to Dr. Greger: I do have purple cabbage in my fridge—lol.)

      For lunch I had green lentils and pot barley over some chopped-up broccoli, green pepper and tomato.

      Bulk grains, cello-packed beans, peas and lentils are all dirt-cheap. Nuts are not so cheap, but buying in bulk helps keep the price down. We’ve all been told to eat more fruit and veggies because of their wonderful health-promoting qualities, so the price shouldn’t be the first consideration. They are cheap enough when on sale or in-season anyway.  All in all, when you consider the positive impact on your health, a whole-foods, plant-based diet is a real bargain.

    • Seri

      how to cook beans to minimize intestinal gas, this really works:

  • Jo Folini


  • Valnaples

    Scored a head of green cabbage for $1 today…a 1-pound of brown rice was 78 cents (all of this at Wal-Mart; I don’t often shop there but hey, they DO offer organics also!)…and a 1 pound bag of lentils was 88 cents. Now all 3 of those items are pretty healthy and will last me a while…oh, and one pound of organic whole carrots was 88 cents, JUST saying….there ARE ways to buy healthy foods inexpensively.

  • salbers

    Would you like to eat healthy FOR FREE? Check out this possibility. Some soul food stores strip greens of their stems onsite for customers (kale, turnip, collards, etc). They do this as a convenience for customers who will only eat the leaves. So what happens to the stems? In most cases they are thrown out. Even worse, some stores PAY to have them hauled away. So if you offer to take some stems they will often give them to you for free.

    So here is a culinary secret: Greens stems, properly cooked, are just as delicious as the leaves and can be used in a wide range of dishes like stews, casseroles or just by themselves. Just think about all those nutrients and the fiber they contain. And they could be available FOR FREE.

  • Rachel

    I felt this video didn’t go into how to eat health while sticking to your budget very well. Though I agree with the view, I can’t see this changing someone’s mind.

  • lentower

    You mention a link to the open access harvard paper, but it isn’t in the “Sources Cited” section.

    Please add it?

    Thanks either way -len

  • When I follow the link to this video ( I get “The embed code for this video is not valid.”

    • Tommasina

      Thanks for getting in touch! The link seems to be working for me, but does it still not work for you? If anyone sees any other embed code issues, please feel free to email me immediately at and I will fix it. We’re switching over to Vimeo and still working through some of the details. Thanks!

  • Vanna

    On the cheap? Not really. I have been suffering from inflammatory processes. Will not go into detail but, has anyone tried to start eating organic chicken, eggs and fruits lately. Is almost like the ones who are meant to live in good health are the wealthy and of course family members of the FDA representative. And I better not get into the couple things I could called them.

    Once upon a time. FDA was supposed to protect the American people, not be a means for lobbying for a pharmaceutical company.

    It has become truly sad. How does Japan and the eastern European countries band these “products” from their people, when everything under the sun has to come with a warning label in the states. Don’t get me started on the GMOs.

  • R Porterfield

    I was vegetarian at one time. We didn’t have a lot of money. I COULDN’T afford a lot of produce and after I year, I went back to eating like everyone else. Needless to say I gained back a lot of weight. Eating a plant based diet is VERY affordable so long as everyone else you feed goes along with it. I never wanted to push it on my husband and kids and even though they saw it benefit me, they never wanted to eat anything that I was eating. They are very picky eaters. So buying my stuff on top of theirs was too much for us. Now I am back to plant based eating. We are doing much better financially and I am determined to make it work this time. So in conclusion, it IS less expensive so long as everyone is on board.

  • baggman744

    The number one thing people need is nutrition, not doubt. But that also includes calories. Now, I’m not talking about fast and processed foods, but the fact is per calorie, a WFPB diet is very expensive, and we’re not even talking organic. A single apple or orange near me is one dollar. That buys you what, 50 or 60 calories? Greens are expensive, not calorie dense. Broccoli and beans, kinda cheap, again, not calorie dense. WFPB diet for an active man not over weight costs much more than an omnivore diet.