Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Poor folks buy unhealthy food

This isn’t surprising but it is shocking.

Fifty years ago less than 15% of Americans were obese. Today about one-third of Americans are obese. In the last fifty years the overall cost of food has fallen about 40%.

You might simply conclude that food is cheaper so we’re eating more, and there is dreadful truth in that.

Evan Horowitz at the Boston Sunday Globe points to a troubling additional truth: poor people are buying sugary snacks and other sweetened unhealthy foods because those are the calories they can afford.

The prices of sugar-laden foods have dropped about 7.5% in the last 25 years, while the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables have gone up about 16%. Sugar is a carbohydrate that packs a lot of calories—you can get more energy per dollar from sweets than you can from bananas and arugula. If you’re pinching pennies, it makes some sense to buy donuts instead of cucumbers.

Try to imagine what you would buy at the grocery store if your current food budget would be cut in half.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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