The Price Of A Bargain Meal

The Hefty Price of a Bargain Meal

For an extra 67 cents, you can get lots of fries, a bucketful of soda, a super-duper burger, and more at a fast food window.

But it’s no bargain. The effect on your weight and lifestyle of supersizing a meal — that is, buying more calories than your body can use — may run you more than $7 in the end. According to researchers, that’s what each supersize meal costs, assuming the extra calories turn to fat, which in turn increases the amount of money you must spend on food, gas, and medical care to sustain an ever-heavier frame.

When researchers determined the real price of supersizing a meal — assuming the added calories turn to fat — they included the cost of more food needed to sustain a heavier person, more gas to transport a heavier body, and the extra medical expenses associated with weight gain. For people already overweight, 67 cents worth of supersizing resulted in $7.72 total cost; even for normal-weight people, the cost was more than $4.

Still worse, carrying around extra pounds leaves you at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, some forms of cancer, and high blood pressure.

Whether you’re ordering fast food at the drive-through, dining in a restaurant, or eating in your own kitchen, pay attention to portion size so you don’t take in more calories than you can use. Try to start your meal with healthy, low-fat foods — fruit or veggies (even fast-food joints now offer salads) — then move on to small portions of protein and carbs. You’ll feel full with far fewer calories.

Many restaurants serve plates piled high with enough food to serve a small family. Be proactive to prevent overeating. Before it’s served, have half your meal boxed and take it home. Or split an entrée. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets. In other words, do yourself a favor and downsize your meals.

Now that’s a good investment.

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