Saturday, October 9, 2010

Obesity Battle Begins With the Shopping Cart

We all know that food prices and choices can help us win or lose the battle with the growing obesity problem, and the battle begins with the shopping cart in the grocery store.

Back in 2005, researchers from Michigan State University studied 581 mothers who received federal aid to determine factors that might predict their daily intake of fat.

Along with food prices and selection, other factors included:

· Mood at the time
· Distance to the store
· Taste preferences
· Preparation time

Some of these predictors can be worked on at home before ever getting to the shopping cart, like mood improvement, taste preferences, and preparation time.

Better organization usually goes towards solving mood and preparation time. Taste preferences need some different work. Distance to the store may or may not be changed by finding another source for groceries—sometimes this is unavoidable, such as in the case of extremely rural areas with little or no public transportation.

Still, making the conscious decision to eat better is first and foremost—the rest are just details to be filled in later.

It’s worth knowing your options, however. Is gardening possible where you live? Can you get by with less sugar and/or salt in your foods? Can you implement an organization plan that involves overnight thawing or pre-cut (by you) salad ingredients? Can you simply get by on less food than previously thought, by making more nutrient-dense selections while at the store, resulting in less trips? Then comes the ultimate question: are you really hungry, or are you thirsty instead and just getting signals mixed up?

With all this discussion about intake, don’t forget the output—exercise. Taking in all the best nutrients in the world won’t help you if they don’t have a way to be used. Fortunately, there are ways to burn calories, and some of them are the very same things you can do to bring down your food costs: gardening, cleaning and organizing, drinking more water instead of eating junky snacks, and walking…plain old walking.

A preventative measure would include doing some research into carbs and the glycemic index to determine which foods are naturally laden with sugar. Since unused sugar stores into fat, the object here would be to avoid taking in large amounts of fast-acting sugar, both naturally existing and the five-pound-bag version. Less sugar in, less sugar on.

The battle of obesity can be won with just two weapons: your brain and your shopping cart.


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