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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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