You would think that with more money comes more eating and indulgence and that less income would mean less food and hence lower risk of obesity. But a new research in the journal Obesity says that it may not be so. Low income has been associated with psychological distress and emotional eating that many indulge in to cope with this. According to Dr Charlotte Hardman from the University of Liverpool who lead the research, those who belong to lower socioeconomic status are likely to experience higher psychological distress which could lead to higher emotional eating and hence higher Body Mass Index (BMI). But it is not just the emotional eating that leads to higher BMI. Low income has also been associated with high access to low cost, calorie-dense foods. This means that those who earn less have more access to cheap, unhealthy food.
Even though this study was conducted in the UK, we could draw parallels to our own situation in India. Ever noticed how the food that’s cheap and easily available, including vada pav, chips, pav bhaaji, bhajias and other common foods in India is high in calories and low in cost? There are plenty of people in the low-income category group who rely on these kind of foods for their daily meals. Whether it is emotional eating or having easy access to high-calorie low-cost food, the fact remains that the consumption of unhealthy food can wreck havoc on your health because of obesity and related problems. Consumption of calorie-dense foods could cause heart diseases, diabetes, stroke and even cancer.
Some nutritious, wholesome snacks that don’t cost too much, are easily available and highly nutritious include sprouts, peanuts and chana, coconut flesh and water, vegetable-filled upma and poha and idlis and dosas with sambar and coconut chutneys. Consumption of seasonal fruits is also highly recommended as they are high in nutrition and also filling.