I was a bit taken by this article this morning:
Fitness professionals say when the economy is in a recession, consumers pack on the ‘recession pounds’ due to the typical rise in the cost of fruits, vegetables, and whole-wheat foods.
Instead, consumers go for items that are cheaper, but often have more sugar and fat.
“I think people’s stress is higher because of the money crunch, but they go for [food] for comfort. I know I do, that’s why I am [at the gym] often,” Maidl said.
At least one medical study has shown a decrease in income can mean putting on about five and a half pounds a year.
I’m trying to think back in other points in the history of first world nations that would suggest that this what always happens during a recession or if this is new development that has occurred over the course of the last generation or so. If memory serves me well, at least prior to World War II, when times got difficult financially, not only did the quality of food increase, but the amount of food consumed also decreased. Food budgets were stretched by the use of leftovers, and using foods in several dishes in the course of a week; Today’s roast is tomorrow’s soup as an example.
What with the dependence upon processed food (and even restaurants for sustenance in some cases), I’m wondering if it is possible for leftovers to come back into vogue. Tightening the money belt doesn’t mean that one has to eat unhealthily. If one knows how to cook, and knows how to shop with an eye for multi-use ingredients, one may still be able avoid packing on the pounds.
So how much of the idea of “recession pounds” comes from our over reliance on frozen dinners, jarred sauces, and single serving stops at McDonald’s? Certainly some of it comes from the fact that foods with sugar and starches are typically cheaper commodities than those with proteins and fiber. But I don’t think that’s the only culprit here. A lack of understanding surrounding home economics surely is playing a part as well.