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20 January 2009

Why Economics Drives Most Food Options You Have

Being overweight is not just a disease; it’s a symptom of many other things that are wrong with your diet. And much of the blame for the current American diet comes down to economics.

In a $10 trillion economy, $1 trillion goes to food companies and $1.5 trillion goes to medical companies. Food companies, like any good businesses, are always trying to increase the consumption of their product. But in food, there’s an unwritten law of marketing called potato chip marketing equations.

That means that 10 percent of your customers buy 90 percent of the product. You may go out and buy one or two bags of potato chips a month. But somebody else is buying one bag a day -- 30 bags every month.

When you add that extra 20 percent extra to your weight, you don’t increase your food consumption 20 percent a day. You double it to 200 percent a day. Your caloric intake to maintain 180 pounds is almost twice the caloric intake you need to maintain 150 pounds.

Think of that from the standpoint a food company. Food companies, as a result, market to people to make everyone part of their potato chip marketing equation. They spend their marketing dollars getting existing customers to buy more of their product.

At what point after two, three, four, 10, 12 bags of potato chips do they no longer taste good? How about McDonald’s French fries? All processed foods never get tiring -- they have chemically altered the food substances in that food to make sure you’re never tired of it.

The problem with obesity, which is ultimately caused by poor diet, is really an economic problem. And when people consume this terrible diet, they end up with all types of medical problems, and they go to the doctors for treatment. But the medical companies are in effect in a conspiracy of sorts with the food companies. They’ve almost said to the food companies, “We’ll treat the symptoms of this bad diet. We will never treat the cause, your bad food.”

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