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05/01/2009

You eat what you are.

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 St. Louis - As people become more educated, studies have demonstrated that they tend to choose foods that are lower in calories but higher in nutrients. They also pay more. In a study published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from the University of Washington compared the eating habits and food costs of a sample of 164 adults in the Seattle, Washington area.

 The energy density of the diet (i.e. available energy per unit weight) is one indicator of diet quality. Lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products and fresh vegetables and fruit provide fewer calories per unit weight than do fast foods, sweets, candy and desserts. Energy dense foods provide more calories per unit weight but tend to be nutrient-poor.

 Diets of low energy density and high nutrient content have been associated with less weight gain and with lower rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. In contrast, energy-dense diets have been linked to higher obesity rates and higher disease risk. Improving diet quality by lowering its energy density is standard advice for weight control, cancer prevention and better health.

 The finding that higher-quality diets were consumed by women of higher socioeconomic status and more costly per 2000 kcal has implications for epidemiologic studies of diet and chronic disease. Nutritional epidemiology has historically been based on the premise that nutrient exposures are directly linked to health outcomes. However, nutritional status is also intimately linked to socioeconomic status, and the findings reported here raise the possibility that the higher monetary cost of nutritious diets may provide one explanation for these observations. Future studies, based on more representative samples, will be needed to elucidate the connections between diet quality and diet cost across socioeconomic strata." Eat Up!

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   For all of that academic babble and the obvious attempt to blame this 'dietary/nutrition gap' on some sort of social, economic or classist oppression or malaise, it boils down to a very simple fact - better educated people make more money, are better prepared to make healthy choices and pay more attention to both. There IS an aspect the researchers conveniently omitted from their study - the poorest people - those on some form of public assistance - have far more time to both shop AND prepare meals. That they choose to eat an unhealthy diet or fast food is NOT symptomatic of a societal failure or economic disparity - it is merely laziness and immediate self gratification winning out over good common sense.


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Comments

I eat junk food and good food. Does that make me medium smart?

Heh, I know you better than that.

Even when you eat junk food it's good stuff.

For someone who eats so very little, you are quite healthy.

I'm down to 250 and change :]

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