Are You Putting On a Few More “Recession Pounds”?

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A thoughtful piece circulated by Reuters today discusses the nutritionally saddening effect of the economic recession. People are cutting back on expensive foods. Makes sense.

Unfortunately the expensive foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy items.

“People … are going to economize and as they save money on food they will be eating more empty calories or foods high in sugar, saturated fats and refined grains, which are cheaper,” said Adam Drewnowski, the director of the Nutrition Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“Things are going to get worse,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview. “Obesity is a toxic result of a failing economic environment.”

He added that studies in California suggested that a 10 percent rise in poverty translates into about a 6 percent increase in obesity among adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one third of U.S. adults — more than 72 million people — and 16 percent of U.S. children are obese.

The unfolding recession could inflate U.S. waistlines further as more and more people fall onto hard times and seek cheaper food.

Read the entire article…

What you need to know:

Healthy and nutritious food does not have to be expensive. There is a cost though – time. If you want to eat healthfully, you need to invest time in preparing your meals. If you can cook a meal, then you can buy unprocessed foods at the supermarket and save the premium you would have paid for a frozen dinner or prepared dish.

True, in the winter it is a bit more difficult to find fresh fruits and vegetables that are cheap, but usually frozen versions are available at reasonable prices.

Some items are low cost but superfluous. Soda pop is a perfect example. Cheap sugary water. But over the course of a year, these empty calories set back an average family of 4 over $500!

More Ideas here: Top ten Tips for Nutritious Shopping in a Recession

Do you have any more suggestions?

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  • Ayala Laufer-Cahana MD

    Great post!

    Appreciate your recommendation to get back to the kitchen–to eat well, and especially on a budget, one has to have basic cooking skills.

    When deciding how to spend money on food one should think about the TRUE cost of the food. Junk food and fast food may seem cheap, but if you figure in their effect on health they become too expensive to even consider.