Are Wal-Mart and Costco Causing Weight Gain?
Obesity is on the Rise in America
Researchers have been trying to figure out what’s causing weight gain for decades. Common theories include: minimal daily exercise, a sedentary lifestyle and working environment, increased portion sizes and the growth of added sugars. Even the decline in smoking was suggested as a potential cause.
While all of these factors likely play a role in the complex landscape of weight management and weight gain, there may be an even bigger factor in your own neighborhood.
A recent study by Georgia State University suggests the growth of restaurants and supercenters (like Wal-Mart and Costco) may be leading to weight gain. With these businesses expanding across the country, and within driving distance of almost every American, researchers believe consuming more calories due to convenience.
The Correlation Between Restaurant Meals and Weight Gain
Restaurant meals tend to be heavy in oil, butter, and salt; and portion sizes are often 2-3 times larger than they would be home.
It’s in the restaurant’s best interest to make food as tasty as possible, which means adding extra salt and fat. The visual appeal of large portion sizes is also one way restaurants make the experience of eating-out more pleasurable.
Regular restaurant patrons tend to over eat, and ultimately, experience weight gain.
The Effect of Supercenters on Weight Gain
Simply put, supercenters like Wal-Mart and Costco make it easier to overeat.
Supercenters provide an abundance of cheap food and are offered in bulk sizes. Processed foods, which are high in sugars and saturated fats, beckon from nearly every aisle. These shelf-stable items are easy for corporations to buy in bulk, and come in low prices.
When was the last time you came home from a supercenter and didn’t have a giant box of frozen processed meals, cookies, crackers, or other snack items?
Chances are that giant box of cookies didn’t last long in the house, and you ended up snacking more often than you otherwise would; simply because the food was there.
What Can You Do to Avoid the Supercenter Bulge?
But if you can’t resist the deals at your local Wal-Mart or Costco, stick to the outskirts of the store. The perimeter aisles typically offer more fresh meat sand vegetables.
If you do venture into the interior aisles, look for healthy bulk offerings, such as brown riced, quinoa, nuts, whole-wheat flour, and the heart healthy oils like olive or sunflower.
And whatever you do, DON’T GO DOWN THE COOKIE AISLE!
Are you having trouble avoiding overeating at restaurants? Do you often buy in bulk when shopping? Is the appeal of eating out or your local Wal-Mart or Costco too great and causing you to gain weight?
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