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The Sad Truth: Poor People Are More Likely To Get Fat

The Sad Truth: Poor People Are More Likely To Get Fat

For centuries people have associated being overweight with being rich. And for centuries, this assumption was true. Being obese was a sign of abundance, it meant never going hungry and always having more than enough to eat.

Today, the opposite is true. People living in poverty are more likely to be overweight and obese. This is because low socioeconomic communities tend to lack access to nutritious food, live sedentary lifestyles, and eat large portion sizes that are high in fat.

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There are two main reasons why people with low incomes are more likely to be obese:

High-Fat, Processed Foods Are Cheaper

When an apple consists of only 1 ingredient and a package of cookies consists of more than 30, why is the apple more expensive per calorie? According to Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the cookies are made of corn, soy, and wheat based ingredients – 3 of the most heavily subsidised crops in the market. These subsidies allow the cost of fat, sugar, and processed carbohydrates to stay low.

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High fat, processed foods are the cheaper alternative thanks to subsidies. To illustrate this, let’s consider the following: the cost of fruits and vegetables increased by 40% (number adjusted for inflation) between 1985 and 2000. The cost of soda, on the other hand, decreased by 25%.

Unhealthy Foods Are Often More Filling And Seem To Be More Cost-Effective

As unhealthy foods are loaded with unhealthy fats contributing to high calories, they make people feel fuller. When a pack of salad has the same price as a fast food set, low income people are more likely to choose the latter one as it seems to be more cost-effective (in terms of level of filling and calories).

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Obesity researcher Dr. Adam Drewnowski conducted a study to see how many calories he could buy while comparing healthy food with the unhealthy ones.

Turns out, his dollar could get him around 1,000 calories in cookies and chips. That same dollar could only get around 250 calories in carrots. Since households with limited finances try to purchase cheap, filling foods, the choice becomes clear. Foods with refined sugar, processed grains, and added fat are a more cost-effective solution in the short term. Consequently, these same foods lead to an overconsumption of calories and weight gain.

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How to Eat Cheap and Healthy

Despite all of these obstacles, there are ways to avoid foods that are high in fat and low in nutrients. The trick is to look for nutrient dense foods to get more bang for your buck.

  1. Buy frozen and canned vegetables. Many people seem to think these options are not as healthy as fresh produce, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, some evidence indicates that frozen vegetables may have higher nutrients than fresh. This is because they are picked and immediately frozen, preserving their vitamins and nutrients. Add frozen and canned vegetables to soups, stir-frys, pasta dishes, and even sandwiches.
  2. Eat more eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of cheap protein and healthy fat. Prepare them for in an omelette for breakfast, hard-boiled on a sandwich for lunch, or scrambled with rice for dinner.
  3. Beans are often overlooked as a cheap and healthy food option. Refried beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans can often be found in cans in convenient stores. Not only are they loaded with protein, but also healthy fat and carbohydrates. Mix whole beans into soup or spread refried beans on whole-grain corn tortillas for lunch or dinner.
  4. Complex carbohydrates can be difficult to find, particularly in food deserts. Good choices for cheap, nutrient-dense options are oatmeal, brown rice, and corn tortillas.
  5. Don’t forget fruits. By saving money on some of the above ingredients, you should be able to stretch your dollar to include fruits in your diet. Watermelon and bananas are particularly cheap choices. Watermelons offer vitamin A and C, lycopene, and magnesium. Bananas are full of potassium. Both are pretty filling options.

Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

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Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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