THE HIGH COST OF EATING WELL
One of the striking and discouraging features of the obesity epidemic is the inverse relationship to socioeconomic status. Put another way, obesity is disproportionately a disease of the poor. Many people have commented on the higher costs associated with eating well, but is this true?
First, it’s indisputably true that it is very easy to eat high calorie, high carbohydrate foods, meals, drinks and snacks very cheaply. The cheap cost of ingredients combined, in some cases with government subsidies and the proliferation of low cost store options means that many people in a low income household find that the most cost effective way to feed a family is to eat high carb processed foods. Bulk items of sweets, sugar laden treats, high fructose corn syrup, packed sodas and products, breads, rice and cereals can combine to make for high calorie meals. And, as we know, meals derived from high proportional carbohydrates not only lead to excess calorie consumption, but they tend to increase a cycle of hunger and overeating. This is the perfect formula for obesity.
But what about eating “well”? Does it really have to cost more? Well, when compared to the bulk food sugar and snack options, it does cost a bit more, but it is definitely possible to eat fresh fruits and vegetable, whole grains and mixture of dairy, legumes and other protein sources very inexpensively.