How To Save Money On Food

Crazy idea, buy less—eat less.

There are many ways to save on food during these lean economic times. But if you want to turn lean times into lean bodies, you might be better off shunning the typical advice of clipping more coupons and looking for sales and instead just buy less food.

This is blasphemy, of course, in America, where many denizens consider cheap food a constitutional right. Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health has heard this charge and more in his call for a tax on unhealthy foods and drinks.

But unlike in centuries past, few Americans are starving as a result of food being scarce or too expensive. This week, Popkin and his colleagues have published yet another paper questioning the availability of cheap food. As relayed in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the risk for obesity and diabetes in a community goes down as the price for fast food and junk food rises.

The reason appears to be simply because folks consume about 1 percent fewer calories from junk food with every one percent increase in the price. Conversely, when these prices fell, body weight and diabetes rose. This is based on data from more than 5,000 participants followed for 20 years in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

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I find that the same thing works for gas.  Walk more—Buy less.

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