The Upside of a Down Economy?

April 3, 2008 at 1:07 am 1 comment

In discussions about America’s expanding waistline, the availability of cheap, unhealthy food is always cited as a primary cause of our collective weight gain. Considering our current economic situation, this type of food is not so cheap anymore. Some are saying that, while that’s bad for our pocketbooks, it’s actually good for our health.

According to the NY Times article Some Good News on Food Prices:

“As the price of fossil fuels and commodities like grain climb, nutritionally questionable, high-profit ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup will, too. As a result, Cokes are likely to get smaller and cost more. Then, the argument goes, fewer people will drink them.”

“And if American staples like soda, fast-food hamburgers and frozen dinners don’t seem like such a bargain anymore, the American eating public might turn its attention to ingredients like local fruits and vegetables, and milk and meat from animals that eat grass. It turns out that those foods, already favorites of the critics of industrial food, have also dodged recent price increases.”

This is an excellent in-depth article, typical of the NY Times, which addresses all the issues associated with producing cheap, unhealthy food: the challenges for small farmers, the worsening of obesity and diabetes, the exploitation of workers, and the damage to land and water.

Unfortunately, the interrelated nature of food production is overwhelming to me. It’s hard enough for me to absorb all the diet plans out there and develop a low-calorie, high-nutrient, clean-eating food plan that’s satisfying and then fit in all the right types of exercise… especially with the economy the way it is presently. As Anna Lappé, founder of the Small Planet Institute, says, “…an intellectual debate on food costs might not be exactly what a cash-strapped grocery shopper needs right now.”

The food production conversation may be too much for me to take in, but I definitely support anything that encourages Americans eat better food. If that’s an upside of the financial situation our country is facing, great. I’m glad there’s an upside at all; even better that it’s food related. Maybe it’ll be a boon for activity levels, too, as Americans realize that it’s cheaper to take a walk than to pay for those extra Cable channels.

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Going Green Another Upside to the Down Economy?

1 Comment Add your own

  • […] 4, 2008 The current economic situation may have another benefit besides encouraging us to eat healthier, locally grown food that’s less e… Cutting back on spending may help us to drop pounds later […]

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