Between shows like “Man vs. Food” and websites like www.peopleofwalmart.com, it’s no shock that overweight Americans will soon become the laughingstock of the London Olympics. British illustrator Toby Leigh—aka Tobatron—has designed souvenir bags donning the phrase “I’ve rented my flat to a fat American family.” http://thatbigeventinlondon.co.uk/ His goal? To “inject some reality into the proceedings.”
The worst part? We deserve it.
In 2008, Americans spent $147 billion to treat a condition that almost always results from just-plain-bad lifestyle choices. Seventy-eight million US adults are obese. In the US, unhealthy weight gain leads to more than 300,000 deaths each year. In the name of financial savings, we stubbornly reject the latest nutritional information in favor of flashy marketing ploys geared at pumping our children full of cheap, empty calories. Quality foods build quality bodies, while rainbow-colored cereals and sports drinks fatten us up and make us sick.
Here are three cost-efficient ways to reverse the international stereotype of the United States of chubbiness.
You buy: Gatorade 12-pack, once a week ($6). http://bit.ly/M7jVJV
Initial cost: $6
Annual cost: $312
Impact: A single 12-oz. bottle contains 22g of sugar. According to research by the Cleveland Clinic, the recommended daily intakes of sugar for men, women and children should not exceed 37.5, 25 or 6 grams per day, respectively. After one Gatorade, your child has already consumed nearly four times the total amount of sugar each meal, beverage and snack throughout the day should provide. The excess sugars get stored as fat, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes and even heart disease. Sugar also fuels the development of pre-cancer cells and contributes to tooth decay. http://bit.ly/LECQGS
You should buy: Pitcher with built-in water filter ($19), one-year supply of replacement filters ($30), strawberries ($3-5) and lemons ($1 or less) for flavor. http://bit.ly/PUaVTV
Initial cost: $54
Annual Cost: $309
The difference: For nearly the same price, you and your family could replace the sugar-doused sports drink with toxin-free, antioxidant-rich flavored water. Simply let water work through the filter, pour it into a glass and then add the fruit and ice. Both fruits are rich in vitamin C, which helps fight off cancer-causing free radicals and can even help maintain healthy skin. http://bit.ly/NPZRtG The natural sweet-and-sour flavoring will quench your thirst and your sweet tooth.
You buy: Microwaveable lunch (Thai-Style Noodles with Chicken) to take to work ($6)
Price per meal: $6 http://bit.ly/PEYPl1
Annual cost: $1,512 http://bit.ly/PdhyTM
Impact: Hopefully your microwave oven isn’t a better cook than you are. Most times, microwaving your frozen meal leaves one side of your food cold and the other side piping hot. Read the label. You’ll find what many would have you believe is healthy nutrition information. By containing a mere 300 calories, this dish seems to be a quality low-fat choice. However, the high percentage of calories from carbohydrates slows your metabolism and makes you more likely to store fat. The meal is also drenched in sodium.