Avoiding The Sweet, Creamy Center

Just as I was railing against Wal-Mart yesterday, here comes an article from Wired that details — with fantastic graphics — how the center aisles of your grocery store are “ground zero” of the obesity epidemic in America.

Want to find something healthy in the grocery store? Stick to the periphery: Most chain supermarkets arrange produce, dairy, and meat along the perimeter of the store, leaving the more processed foods and impulse buys in the middle. That’s where you’ll find foods with the highest “energy density,” or calories by weight, which makes those aisles ground zero of the obesity epidemic.

The first graphic can be somewhat misleading, as it seems to demonstrate that the most expensive items are located in the produce section.  But this isn’t true.  The most expensive items per calorie are located in the produce section.  This means that you’d need to spend $20.00 in the produce section to get an item of food with 100 calories in it, whereas you’d only have to spend $2.00 in the snack food section for your same wallop of calories.

I know it’s too small to read.  So go to the article to see it full-sized.

But are those snack food calories the same calories that you’d purchase in the produce section?  No; of course not.  And more importantly, you don’t have to spend $20.00 on produce to get quadruple the nutrition that you’d get from a lousy $2.00 bag of Bugles.

More succintly put, you’re going to get way more bang for your buck if you purchase $10 in food from your produce section than if you spent the same $10 in the snack food aisle.  Not just more food, volume-wise, but more nutritional content as well.

The remainder of the article is quite short, but the infographics speak for themselves.  It’s a good read, so check the rest out here.

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