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Do you think Americans are getting/going to get thinner


jld
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as a result of the financial crisis? As in, with less money to spend on groceries, people will eat less and lose weight? Have you seen this starting, or not at all?

 

Not necessarily because people might tend to buy cheap, processed food rather than learn how to cook with cheaper whole foods, and that can be MORE fattening than good ol' whole food.

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I agree with the previous posters, empty calories are cheap.

 

But I get where you're coming from. When dh and I were BC (before children) and we had more money we at out . . . A LOT! And I packed on a ton of weight. After we had kids and I was cooking at home, our meals were more nutritious and we found weight loss to be easier.

Edited by BigMamaBird
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as a result of the financial crisis? As in, with less money to spend on groceries, people will eat less and lose weight? Have you seen this starting, or not at all?

 

Nope... because they can buy "junk" cheaper than healthy food.

 

For example... 2l. soda - $0.89, 2 Gal. milk - $2.79

Apples $1.50/lb. - Hamburger helper - $1, plus hamburger $0.89

 

Plus, most coupons are for "junk." It takes a lot of work/time to save money on food, many people don't have that kind of time, or don't want to spend that kind of time.

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as a result of the financial crisis? As in, with less money to spend on groceries, people will eat less and lose weight? Have you seen this starting, or not at all?

 

No, the cheapest foods are fattening. Now when the FAMINE kicks in, that's a different story.

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Nope... because they can buy "junk" cheaper than healthy food.

 

For example... 2l. soda - $0.89, 2 Gal. milk - $2.79

Apples $1.50/lb. - Hamburger helper - $1, plus hamburger $0.89

 

Plus, most coupons are for "junk." It takes a lot of work/time to save money on food, many people don't have that kind of time, or don't want to spend that kind of time.

 

I haven't seen prices like that in several years! Except the apples, maybe, as they tend to go on sale in the fall.

 

ETA: Are groceries REALLY that cheap there? I know that they are much cheaper where you are than in central NC (or at least they were when I was there in 2006? I think.) Those prices are just so low!

 

As for buying less food - yes, it does happen. And yes, the parents will eat less to make sure the dc have more. Will they lose weight? Maybe. Depends on what they are eating.

 

I agree with others, though, that highly processed foods are cheaper (calorie for calorie) than whole foods. In addition, carbs are cheap (especially non-whole grain carbs) and more easily overeaten in my experience. If someone consumes 2-3 cups of rice at a sitting, twice a day, for a long time, they will gain a LOT of weight. Ask me how I know.;)

 

It's better for you to have fruits and veggies at the base of your pyramid, rather than grains. They fill you up, stay longer, and are much, much lower calorie for the same weight food. I have also found when my diet is based around rice or some other grain, I am hungry all the time, so I eat more of the "cheap carbs" in order to try and stave off the hunger.

 

If we got to the point where there were true food shortages (where you couldn't buy enough of even the cheap variety of food) then, yes, people would get thinner. Imagine the health problems that would come from that! I don't see it as a positive, for sure.

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Already in America those who have less money tend to be fatter. I don't see any reason this would change.

 

I hate to say it, but if I had to choose between buying healthy food and leaving the amount of calories completely deficient, or buying garbage food just to get enough to eat, I'd choose the garbage. I wouldn't like it, and I'd try every way I could to find some fruits and veggies, but I wouldn't go hungry (and I do mean hungry, not just feeling some appetite) to maintain high standards of food.

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If people are losing weight due to the economy I think it would be due to more exercise than less food. I agree with the sentiments expressed above about cheap calories.

 

I suppose it is possible people might be walking more to save gas $ or might spend the afternoon playing frisbee at the park instead of taking the family to a movie. Maybe someone's car died and they take the bus and have a 15-minute walk from the bus stop to their destination. Camping vacations (with associated hiking and calorie burning) are generally cheaper than hotel/restaurant trips.

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If someone consumes 2-3 cups of rice at a sitting, twice a day, for a long time, they will gain a LOT of weight. Ask me how I know.;)

 

 

 

Well, I regularly pass through villages here in India, where the staples are white rice and sambhar (lentils with tomatoes and onions) and I don't see many fat people. Honestly, in the villages I'm not sure I see any.

 

I see very lean people doing physical labor every day. They are not running places, but they are working in rice paddies and doing the various other manual jobs (washing clothes in the river, for example) that need to be done.

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Well, I regularly pass through villages here in India, where the staples are white rice and sambhar (lentils with tomatoes and onions) and I don't see many fat people. Honestly, in the villages I'm not sure I see any.

 

I see very lean people doing physical labor every day. They are not running places, but they are working in rice paddies and doing the various other manual jobs (washing clothes in the river, for example) that need to be done.

 

Right. How many people in America do physical labor all day every day? Most jobs are sedentary or we spend to much time sitting at the computer.:tongue_smilie: Even the poorest aren't washing clothes by hand most of the time or working in the fields.

 

Fine. People can eat rice 3 times a day as long as they burn that many calories as well. My point was that when rice was cheap and it was the main part of our diet I gained a lot of weight. However, on a more plant based diet, I have lost weight. YMMV, of course.

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:confused: I don't understand what you are meaning here. If you eat less than 1200 calories a day, you will lose weight. I get that. Most people don't eat that little, even on a diet.

 

So, I guess you are saying when the famine comes and people do not have access to 1200 calories a day, then they will lose weight? I don't think anyone is disputing that - several of us have mentioned that a true food shortage would lead to less obesity. I imagine that is why the people in the villages are thin - there isn't enough food to go around, so people don't get fat.

 

Or am I missing your point entirely?

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I'd say absolutely not. Go ride around in a super upper-class, rich neighborhood or community and you'll see people spending some serious money on good, quality food. You'll also see more people jogging, exercising in their workout rooms, etc. It's not always cheap or easy to eat well and exercise with commitment. Unfortunately it is cheap and easy to eat junk and watch tv to escape stress (usually brought on by money).

 

I believe cheap, ultra-processed food and avoidance practices like laziness is much more likely in a situation of economic depression in lives.

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:confused: I don't understand what you are meaning here. If you eat less than 1200 calories a day, you will lose weight. I get that. Most people don't eat that little, even on a diet.

 

So, I guess you are saying when the famine comes and people do not have access to 1200 calories a day, then they will lose weight? I don't think anyone is disputing that - several of us have mentioned that a true food shortage would lead to less obesity. I imagine that is why the people in the villages are thin - there isn't enough food to go around, so people don't get fat.

 

Or am I missing your point entirely?

 

Does it say you only eat 1200 calories a day? I thought the rice was unlimited. I don't think people in the villages are limiting their rice intake. I think they eat until they're full.

 

I lost 20 lbs. over two months last year eating rice, oatmeal, and potatoes with some vegetables and fruit every day. I did not limit portion size, though it is true that with eating the same things every day, you quickly just eat for hunger and stop when you are satisfied. I did take a walk most days, but not a strenuous one.

 

I'm not saying a fruit and veg-based diet is bad. Not at all. But it can be expensive or difficult (think availability in cold climates) to maintain. I think a starch-based diet is more realistic for a lot of people.

 

I originally read about the Kempner diet in one of McDougall's books. He said it was a popular treatment for diabetes (type 2, I think, but not sure), but it also helps heart disease, and probably lots of other illnesses, too. I'll go do some looking on that site about it.

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http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2008nl/jan/grains.htm

 

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2005nl/november/051100vol.htm

 

Both of these mention the Kempner diet. The regular Kempner diet was 2000 calories, just white rice and fruit, and it helped many different health problems. The diet was modified for obese patients to get them to lose faster.

 

The point of my post was that there is this belief out there that starches make people fat. I agree that what we put on starches (butter on bread, alfredo sauce on pasta, sour cream on potatoes) can make us fat. But I don't believe plain baked potatoes and plain white rice are responsible for the obesity epidemic.

Edited by jld
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Well, I regularly pass through villages here in India, where the staples are white rice and sambhar (lentils with tomatoes and onions) and I don't see many fat people. Honestly, in the villages I'm not sure I see any.

 

I see very lean people doing physical labor every day. They are not running places, but they are working in rice paddies and doing the various other manual jobs (washing clothes in the river, for example) that need to be done.

 

It is exercise that helps people lose weight, not really calories unless one is in a famine. If one eats less calories their body slows the metabolism to make up for it. Then, when they eat, the body stores more calories in anticipation. This is why one has trouble losing weight even by something as simple as skipping breakfast. If one exercises, metabolism increases (or stays higher).

 

With the current economy, most people, including ourselves with our budget cutback, are eating more unhealthy foods, not less food. Fortunately for us, we have garden veggies and hunted deer. Many families don't have those healthy options. Even the food some get at food banks or school tends to be unhealthy.

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as a result of the financial crisis? As in, with less money to spend on groceries, people will eat less and lose weight? Have you seen this starting, or not at all?

 

I didn't read the other responses, but I think Americans will get fatter due to the economic crisis. I think pasta, bread, potatoes and other carby starches are much cheaper and more filling than good veggies and fresh lean meat. Fatty meat is cheaper, sugary cereals are cheaper etc.

think there is much obesity among the poor because of non-nutricious but filling foods being affordable and available.

 

Faithe

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I agree with the consensus. Poor folks can't afford to eat healthy food. A 50 cent mac and cheese mix might be supper, with a one dollar pkg of hot dogs if they have a little extra money.... don't ask how I know. (not currently an issue though)

 

Yep. A few years ago, things like generic mac & cheese, ramen, store brand canned pasta, hot dogs (cheap protein that could be chopped and added to anything) etc were staples in our house because that's the sort of food that we could afford (and it's also the sort of food that food banks tend to hand out).

 

I knew plenty of low income families and many of them had/have "weight problems" - parents and kids.

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While I agree with other posters that calories are cheap in the US, I think that one needs to note that calories are cheap because of government subsidies on things like corn and the fact that fuel costs remain lower than in much of the world.

 

Now what about a scenario in which fuel costs dramatically rise? Much of the American diet is shipped vast distances and depends upon fertilizers. If junk food became expensive but the products from the local farm were not, it might rewrite the script. In fact, where I live, farm purchased produce is much, much cheaper than the inferior products in the store. One sees people of all economic stripes buying from the farm stands.

 

A better American diet requires breaking the soda habit. If HFC was not subsidized and fuel to transport the stuff soared, perhaps people might return to a time when a carbonated beverage was a treat, not a constant companion.

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While I agree with other posters that calories are cheap in the US, I think that one needs to note that calories are cheap because of government subsidies on things like corn and the fact that fuel costs remain lower than in much of the world.

 

Now what about a scenario in which fuel costs dramatically rise? Much of the American diet is shipped vast distances and depends upon fertilizers. If junk food became expensive but the products from the local farm were not, it might rewrite the script. In fact, where I live, farm purchased produce is much, much cheaper than the inferior products in the store. One sees people of all economic stripes buying from the farm stands.

 

A better American diet requires breaking the soda habit. If HFC was not subsidized and fuel to transport the stuff soared, perhaps people might return to a time when a carbonated beverage was a treat, not a constant companion.

 

Very good points about subsidies and fuel costs, Jane. Thank you.

 

My mom only bought pop for a treat, say a holiday, and even then it was a limited amount. I've seen moms fill a whole cart with soda pop at the grocery stores in the last few years.

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While I agree with other posters that calories are cheap in the US, I think that one needs to note that calories are cheap because of government subsidies on things like corn and the fact that fuel costs remain lower than in much of the world.

 

Now what about a scenario in which fuel costs dramatically rise? Much of the American diet is shipped vast distances and depends upon fertilizers. If junk food became expensive but the products from the local farm were not, it might rewrite the script. In fact, where I live, farm purchased produce is much, much cheaper than the inferior products in the store. One sees people of all economic stripes buying from the farm stands.

 

A better American diet requires breaking the soda habit. If HFC was not subsidized and fuel to transport the stuff soared, perhaps people might return to a time when a carbonated beverage was a treat, not a constant companion.

:iagree:with a lot of this but living up North, local produce is only available for at most 5-6 months of the year. Unless they take up canning and preserving that will really limit options for many people and lead to even a worse diet, at least during the winter months.

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While I agree with other posters that calories are cheap in the US, I think that one needs to note that calories are cheap because of government subsidies on things like corn and the fact that fuel costs remain lower than in much of the world.

 

Now what about a scenario in which fuel costs dramatically rise? Much of the American diet is shipped vast distances and depends upon fertilizers. If junk food became expensive but the products from the local farm were not, it might rewrite the script. In fact, where I live, farm purchased produce is much, much cheaper than the inferior products in the store. One sees people of all economic stripes buying from the farm stands.

 

A better American diet requires breaking the soda habit. If HFC was not subsidized and fuel to transport the stuff soared, perhaps people might return to a time when a carbonated beverage was a treat, not a constant companion.

 

I agree that without subsidies, processed foods would become more expensive. Even so, in a pinch, most people will choose cheap and filling over best nutritional value. As long as white is cheapest (bread, pasta, rice, flour, sugar) that is what people will buy.

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My mom only bought pop for a treat, say a holiday, and even then it was a limited amount. I've seen moms fill a whole cart with soda pop at the grocery stores in the last few years.

 

I've done this when heading to a family gathering as we're farther away than pretty much everyone else and get slotted to bring a variety of sodas and chips (which are made near here - not available there - so requested by many). Yet we almost never drink soda at home. I often wonder how condemning people are when they look at my cart prior to our leaving. It's filled with sodas, chips, and dog/cat food - sometimes a quick "something" for dinner that night too if I need it.

 

Oh well. I don't get too worried about it, and no, we're not going to change what we bring to family gatherings. I'm not a believer that occasional soda kills anyone. We also bring water for those that want it (like ourselves and many others). We can't use tap water at my grandma's due to the super high iron content in it.

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While I agree with other posters that calories are cheap in the US, I think that one needs to note that calories are cheap because of government subsidies on things like corn and the fact that fuel costs remain lower than in much of the world.

 

Now what about a scenario in which fuel costs dramatically rise? Much of the American diet is shipped vast distances and depends upon fertilizers. If junk food became expensive but the products from the local farm were not, it might rewrite the script. In fact, where I live, farm purchased produce is much, much cheaper than the inferior products in the store. One sees people of all economic stripes buying from the farm stands.

 

A better American diet requires breaking the soda habit. If HFC was not subsidized and fuel to transport the stuff soared, perhaps people might return to a time when a carbonated beverage was a treat, not a constant companion.

 

Some of us live in areas where not a lot of local produce grows- it's mostly potatoes and horseradishes here. And pumpkins. All produce is expensive and expires quickly because it has to be brought in.

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I've done this when heading to a family gathering as we're farther away than pretty much everyone else and get slotted to bring a variety of sodas and chips (which are made near here - not available there - so requested by many). Yet we almost never drink soda at home. I often wonder how condemning people are when they look at my cart prior to our leaving. It's filled with sodas, chips, and dog/cat food - sometimes a quick "something" for dinner that night too if I need it.

 

Oh well. I don't get too worried about it, and no, we're not going to change what we bring to family gatherings. I'm not a believer that occasional soda kills anyone. We also bring water for those that want it (like ourselves and many others). We can't use tap water at my grandma's due to the super high iron content in it.

 

I would not take jld's comment personally. There does seem to be a correlation between the rise in obesity rates and soda consumption. That soda at a family gathering is not the problem.

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Some of us live in areas where not a lot of local produce grows- it's mostly potatoes and horseradishes here. And pumpkins. All produce is expensive and expires quickly because it has to be brought in.

 

And your area grows the hard winter wheat that I dearly love....

 

Admittedly we cannot all eat a completely local diet. But it does seem to me that a great deal of energy is wasted shipping food. For example, when it is strawberry season in NC, why are the grocery stores selling California berries?

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And your area grows the hard winter wheat that I dearly love....

 

Admittedly we cannot all eat a completely local diet. But it does seem to me that a great deal of energy is wasted shipping food. For example, when it is strawberry season in NC, why are the grocery stores selling California berries?

 

Don't get me started! There was a news story a few years back about a group of NC sweet potatoes farmers. Sweet potatoes are a large part of NC agriculture, but most are grown by small farmers and grocery stores tend not to buy from small farmers. Some farmers got together, formed a co-op, and approached Food Lion. They were told that Food Lion would buy their sweet potatoes as long as they could supply an entire distribution center. They could, so they went into the season with that in mind.

 

Later, Food Lion went back on the deal - I don't remember why. Maybe they needed more than the farmers had? I don't know. The end result was that Food Lion shipped sweet potatoes *in* to NC from somewhere in the midwest and the NC farmers shipped their sweet potatoes to somewhere in Europe (for, of course, a lower price than they had been hoping for.):glare:

 

What a ridiculous waste!

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One thing that no one has commented on: the possibility of rationed food stamps.

 

If the government has to cut back on welfare and food stamps, you will see people getting thinner.

 

People who are already on a limited food budget and eating high calorie foods will consume less food, even if high calorie, in general if their food budget is reduced.

 

Even though school foods are high carbs, dc don't receive all they want to eat. They are only allowed to get one serving. The serving for a k'er is the same as a 5th grader. There were many 5th grade boys at my dd's elementary school who had to bring money for 2 lunches so they wouldn't be hungry. This was 7 years ago when the economy was good and the parents couldn't get the school to give the dc more food without purchasing 2 lunches. In this economy the dc won't have a change of getting more food at school.

 

Pair less food stamps with higher food cost due to the possibility of rising fuel cost and yes, I do believe people low income people will get thinner.

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One thing that no one has commented on: the possibility of rationed food stamps.

 

If the government has to cut back on welfare and food stamps, you will see people getting thinner.

 

People who are already on a limited food budget and eating high calorie foods will consume less food, even if high calorie, in general if their food budget is reduced.

 

Even though school foods are high carbs, dc don't receive all they want to eat. They are only allowed to get one serving. The serving for a k'er is the same as a 5th grader. There were many 5th grade boys at my dd's elementary school who had to bring money for 2 lunches so they wouldn't be hungry. This was 7 years ago when the economy was good and the parents couldn't get the school to give the dc more food without purchasing 2 lunches. In this economy the dc won't have a change of getting more food at school.

 

Pair less food stamps with higher food cost due to the possibility of rising fuel cost and yes, I do believe people low income people will get thinner.

 

With higher food stamps, I am able to feed my family much better than I would if we had to live on less. I think people tend to consume the same volume of food regardless, so if I had to replace the fruits/vegetables with rice because we had half as much, we would gain weight, not lose it. One cup of rice is 200 calories - I would have to eat roughly 5 cups of vegetables to get the same calories. So, if I substitute 1 cup of rice for the cup of broccoli I might have eaten instead, I am adding 160 calories.

 

I don't plan on being on food stamps much longer, so it won't affect me, but I don't think you'll see the weight loss you think you will until there are *no* food stamps and no money for food - then people *will* get thinner because they won't be able to buy enough calories of any food at all.

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I live in the farm belt, and local produce and other farm fresh products are for the most part not cheaper. In fact they tend to cost more. There are times when corn is cheap, but for the most part healthy produce, eggs, meat and milk cost more.

 

Our area also ships the bulk of the harvest elsewhere or turns it into ethanol.

 

We have no farmer's markets September through May, due to harsh winters. I do try to buy local and grow what I can.

 

While I agree with other posters that calories are cheap in the US, I think that one needs to note that calories are cheap because of government subsidies on things like corn and the fact that fuel costs remain lower than in much of the world.

 

Now what about a scenario in which fuel costs dramatically rise? Much of the American diet is shipped vast distances and depends upon fertilizers. If junk food became expensive but the products from the local farm were not, it might rewrite the script. In fact, where I live, farm purchased produce is much, much cheaper than the inferior products in the store. One sees people of all economic stripes buying from the farm stands.

 

A better American diet requires breaking the soda habit. If HFC was not subsidized and fuel to transport the stuff soared, perhaps people might return to a time when a carbonated beverage was a treat, not a constant companion.

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With higher food stamps, I am able to feed my family much better than I would if we had to live on less. I think people tend to consume the same volume of food regardless, so if I had to replace the fruits/vegetables with rice because we had half as much, we would gain weight, not lose it. One cup of rice is 200 calories - I would have to eat roughly 5 cups of vegetables to get the same calories. So, if I substitute 1 cup of rice for the cup of broccoli I might have eaten instead, I am adding 160 calories.

 

I don't plan on being on food stamps much longer, so it won't affect me, but I don't think you'll see the weight loss you think you will until there are *no* food stamps and no money for food - then people *will* get thinner because they won't be able to buy enough calories of any food at all.

 

What you said is true, but do you think people will start to substitute things like rice for other types of foods? I know the women on this board would, but we are pretty smart women! Do you think the general population will substitute their high calorie, processed food for things like rice? And if they do, prices for such said food will increase.

 

Our government can only support so many people on food stamps. And the way things are going, I don't see how food stamps won't be rationed or severely cut back on. I think it is going to be harder to qualify for help and the help is going to be less so it can be more spread around. I do think this will effect people's weight. We are talking about people's weight assuming the food stamp program will stay the same and keep the same qualifications. Most states are having to make serious cutback in their budgets. States are going to have to redefine qualifications. I do think this will start to have an impact on peoples health and weight.

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I live in the farm belt, and local produce and other farm fresh products are for the most part not cheaper. In fact they tend to cost more. There are times when corn is cheap, but for the most part healthy produce, eggs, meat and milk cost more.

 

 

 

You bring up a good point here. The vegetables that I buy directly from my local farmers are less expensive than the grocery store (for the most part). But I probably pay twice as much for my local eggs. They are worth every penny since they are so much better than chain store eggs but there is no local discount. I suspect this is because chicken feed is being shipped from somewhere else!

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What you said is true, but do you think people will start to substitute things like rice for other types of foods? I know the women on this board would, but we are pretty smart women! Do you think the general population will substitute their high calorie, processed food for things like rice? And if they do, prices for such said food will increase.

 

Our government can only support so many people on food stamps. And the way things are going, I don't see how food stamps won't be rationed or severely cut back on. I think it is going to be harder to qualify for help and the help is going to be less so it can be more spread around. I do think this will effect people's weight. We are talking about people's weight assuming the food stamp program will stay the same and keep the same qualifications. Most states are having to make serious cutback in their budgets. States are going to have to redefine qualifications. I do think this will start to have an impact on peoples health and weight.

 

You know, I don't know what other people would do. If all of a sudden I had half of what I spend now to spend on groceries, we would eat a lot more rice.:tongue_smilie: We would also eat many fewer fruits and vegetables. If it got bad enough, I could see us eating the cheap hotdogs cut-up in the rice. It would definitely affect our health and weight. If I couldn't buy enough calories for all of us, then yes, we would lose weight.

 

As for food stamps being cut back - yes, I think it will. President Obama increased the amounts last year as one of the stimulus measures, but in August Congress cut $12 billion from the program (about 16% or so.) Not exactly sure how that is going to work! i imagine it will eventually lead to cuts in benefits.

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You know, I don't know what other people would do. If all of a sudden I had half of what I spend now to spend on groceries, we would eat a lot more rice.:tongue_smilie: We would also eat many fewer fruits and vegetables. If it got bad enough, I could see us eating the cheap hotdogs cut-up in the rice. It would definitely affect our health and weight. If I couldn't buy enough calories for all of us, then yes, we would lose weight.

 

 

 

I don't know how we would manage with half our budget (which would be about $300-350 for 8 people). I guess I'd be making more Tightwad Gazette recipes. Bread crumb cookies, anyone?

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I think a big issue is that even when money is scarce, people just look for what appears to be a value, which means they turn to advertising to form their decisions. Name-brand processed foods make pitches about being a bargain, but I don't see ads for dried beans or local produce. Stores are starting to push their own brands more, also for these processed products. I think people will just switch from name-brand Doritos and Coke to store-brand chips and soda, which certainly won't help anyone get thinner.

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As for food stamps being cut back - yes, I think it will. President Obama increased the amounts last year as one of the stimulus measures, but in August Congress cut $12 billion from the program (about 16% or so.) Not exactly sure how that is going to work! i imagine it will eventually lead to cuts in benefits.

 

WOW! I didn't know this! With so many more people needing assistance and the programs being cut by 16%, it will have an impact. I have been reading cuts that several states are having to make because of decreased revenue. Some states are afraid of even meeting the federal requirements for particular programs! Many of the state cutbacks were healthcare related, which is think is truly ironic since there is such a big push for healthcare!

 

I truly think America is going to have to restructure. Not sure what it will look like when done.

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