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Invest in your health

Invest in your health

As tax month winds down, now is a good time to analyze your spending habits. If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably spending more than you’d like on health insurance and health care.

You might also be trying to solve personal financial dilemmas related to heart disease care and prevention. You might even be considering whether using Step One Foods as part of your health improvement efforts is just too expensive.

So let’s do some math:

Assume you like to eat bars and you opt for two Apple Cinnamon Bars per day as your Step One program.  The yearly cost of that is is $1,708 (subscription plan, no other discounts applied). That might seem high until you consider that these foods are replacing something you’re eating already.  So first, you need to subtract however much you spend on the foods you’re replacing. If that’s two Nutri-Grain Apple Cinnamon bars per day, you’d have to subtract about $263 for the year.

But before you do that calculation, consider that one third of the weight of the Nutri-Grain Apple Cinnamon Bar is added sugar.  So being generous, only 2/3 of it (or about 24 grams) is worth eating. That means to equal the food weight of one Step One Apple Cinnamon Bar (which contains no counterproductive ingredients), you’d have to eat 1.7 Nutri-Grain bars, raising your Nutri-Grain yearly costs to $447.  Subtracting $447 from $1708, you’re down to $1261 per year. 

But we’re still not done. 

Those Nutri-Grain Apple Cinnamon Bars contain only 1 gram of fiber, few antioxidants, no omega 3 fatty acids and no plant sterols.  To get to comparable levels of those nutrients as contained in Step One’s products, you’d have to use supplements every day for an annual cost of approximately $1000.*  So now you’re at $261 in cost differential for the year - or $0.72 per day.

Seventy two cents for two servings of food delivering only health promoting ingredients known to support cardiovascular health and proven to significantly lower cholesterol in as little as 30 days.  And just to underscore product distinctions even further, there are no published data looking at the health effects of Nutri-Grain bars (which would be expected to be negative based on ingredient composition alone).

Some insurance plans do allow using FLEX or HSA dollars to pay for our foods, reducing Step One costs even further. But if your plan doesn’t and $261 still seems like a lot extra to spend over the course of a year, let’s consider what happens if you take medication to lower your cholesterol:

If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to pay about $96 in copays for your generic statin prescription – though the tab is actually higher if you consider the overall costs of health insurance (the dirty little secret is that drugs are not truly as low cost as they appear to be).  That still doesn't account for the antioxidants, fiber, plant sterols and omega 3s which are all important for heart health.  So you're actually at $1096 for the year with supplements. 

Worse yet, if you’re unlucky, your out-of-pocket costs can skyrocket: Newer cholesterol lowering medications, such as injectables, can take upwards of $400 out of your wallet each month.  So now you're around $6000 for the year (including the supplements).  That's several years worth of Step One Foods.

Plus, when you’re eating our products, you’re investing in your healthy future above and beyond lowering LDL.  Spending your food dollars on Step One can help fend off obesity, help improve blood sugar control and help lower blood pressure -- and buy you even more years of quality living. When you’re spending those dollars on statins or injectables, you will definitely be lowering your cholesterol.....but nothing else.  

Since cholesterol reductions reduce heart events regardless of how you get there (food or drugs), we hope all insurers will eventually catch on and cover our products the same way they cover medications. We're working hard at making the case.  After all, our published analysis shows that every dollar spent on Step One Foods saves the health care system $2.32 in medical costs.

But until then, know that when you purchase Step One products, even without the help of insurance coverage, you are spending your money wisely.  Better health is priceless.  It’s certainly worth $0.72 per day.

 

*Supplements used for this calculation include Metamucil, Health's Harmony Super Antioxidants, Nature's Bounty Flax Seed Oil, and Cholestoff.  

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