Skip to main content

Is Low-carb an Expensive Diet?

If high quality meat and cheese are upwards of $5 per pound and potatoes, bread and bananas cost a fraction of that, the low-carb meat-and-cheese diet sounds like it would be much more expensive than the high-carb diet. Does it work out that way in real life?

Since I buy almost everything with a debit card and record all the transactions on my computer, I have records for everything I've spent on food, health care and skin care. (The only serious cash I spend is for cover charges to dance clubs.) These three things--the food I eat, my skin, and overall health--have significantly changed since I started a low-carb diet back in February. I decided to analyze how the diet has affected my spending in those areas, which I believe have changed because of my low-carb diet.

Although I have data for all 2009, I have only three whole months' data for the time I've been low-carb. For 2010, I used the period March 1 through May 31. In addition, I excluded some unusual items for 2009: the doctor bill for turf toe (an accident unrelated to diet) and a flu shot (I'll probably get one later this year). Once I had totals for 2009, I divided them by four to make them the equivalent of three months (the length of the period I'm using for 2010). Results:

2009 (adjusted to three months):
Food: $1,114.16
Skin care & beauty supplies: $107.10
Health care: $251.75
Total: $1,473.01

2010 (Period March 1 through May 31):
Food: $1,153.27
Skin care & beauty supplies: $80.15
Health care: $0
Total: $1,233.42

Difference per year: $958.36 savings

It would appear I'm saving $80 per month by eating an expensive diet. How?

  • I'm saving $424 per year on acid blockers. (See posts on acid reflux.) I also quit going to my chiropractor because my aches and pains suddenly disappeared after I cut the carbs.
  • My food spending went up by only $13 per month. However, I don't eat as much as I used to. Fat (which I enjoy on my diet) has nine calories per gram; carbohydrate has four. Fat is therefore more filling--and it doesn't spike your blood sugar and make you hungry an hour later. My refrigerator and cupboards aren't as full as they used to be, and grocery shopping takes a lot less time.
  • I remarked a few months ago that I didn't know whether my skin or my priorities have changed, but I didn't feel the need for expensive skin care products anymore. (This was before I started taking extra zinc.) I believe it's my skin that's changed. It's softer and smoother and doesn't need exfoliants or balm anymore; rarely, I'll use some lotion on it. Over half of the $80 I spent on skin care products & beauty supplies during the period in 2010 was for perfume, which will last me several months. Those high-priced skin care products used to be my crack cocaine.

There's one thing I haven't taken into account: the money I'm spending going out dancing more often because I have more energy and don't have to spend nearly as much time working out. Well, every diet requires a sacrifice.

Comments

Fred Hahn said…
Excellent post Lori!
Lori Miller said…
Thanks, Fred.

Popular posts from this blog

Results of my Carrageenan-Free Diet

Certain things should be left in the aquarium. Readers may recall my ordeal last Saturday with a migraine headache and a trip by ambulance back to my parents' house. Thanks to one of the paramedics jogging my memory, I researched the almond milk I'd started drinking around the time I quit dairy. One of the ingredients was carrageenan, a substance used to induce inflammation, sensitivity to pain and other problems in laboratory animals. Supposedly, the "undegraded" form is safe for human consumption, but undegraded carrageenan has been found to be contaminated with degraded carrageenan, and there are ways that the digestive system could degrade carrageenan itself. For the past few months, I've felt a little bloated, and was starting to have some mild pain in my lower stomach. I thought it might have been the effects of the antibiotics, oral steroids or decongestant (which gave me an allergic reaction) from back in February. I didn't connect it to the sev

Sausage-Induced Headaches: Another Clue Points to Carrageenan

A few years ago when I started a low carb diet and started eating sausage again, I found some sausages gave me a headache, but others didn't. At first, eating them was a crap shoot, but I soon found some I couldn't eat (Applegate Farms Organic & Natural Meats) and some I could (McDonald's Restaurants and Ranch Foods Direct, a local pastured meat company). Some of Applegate Farms' products contain carrageenan (a highly processed, seaweed-based food additive used to induce pain and inflammation in research animals). McDonald's and Ranch Foods Direct sausage doesn't contain it. Why put carrageenan in sausage? According to Applegate Farms' website , Carrageenan, which is derived from red seaweed (Chondrus Crispus), activates extracted protein in the meat to help it bind together when formed. As the meat cooks, the heat forms a gel network, increasing moisture retention and improving the sliceability of the product. Without the addition of carrageenan

Easy, Cheesy Chicken Soup

 Five minutes, and lunch is ready! 1/2 T butter 1/4 c sliced mushrooms 1-1/2 c stock 1/2 c chopped cooked chicken (no skin) 2 T nacho cheese 2 T salsa In a small soup pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat and cook the mushrooms. Chop the chicken while they're cooking. Add stock and chicken to pot and heat. Stir in the cheese and salsa and serve (or pack up for lunch).  It looks a lot like this stock photo.