This column is complete and total garbage.
I’ve lost count of the number of rows I’ve had about that, many in public, one live on telly, during which the broadcaster Jonathan Maitland said this was a problem of education: if she knew how to shop better she would have been able to afford a more balanced diet. This is total tripe (which, although famously cheap because it is famously disgusting, is still probably more expensive than a Big Mac); certainly, you could shop differently with the same money and win the approval of nutritionist Gillian McKeith, but if your aim is to avoid being hungry, you could not do that more cheaply.
I understand this strenuous avoidance of reality. Once you accept that crap food is an economic, not a moral choice, you have to accept a whole raft of unpleasant outcomes as a function of deprivation, not an illustration of a lack of backbone. You have to accept that 24,000 “lifestyle-related” yearly deaths from diabetes are related not to sloth but to poverty. Sure, it’s still a lifestyle, but it’s not a choice. You have to accept that the education agenda against obesity – vegetables and regular exercise – will never work (that should be obvious, just by looking at the data or, failing that, just by looking around).
It is vastly cheaper in terms of money to eat non-processed foods. According to t’internet this is 540 calories. For £2.39. This being a Big Mac.
Which is hugely expensive when compared to what can be done with a bit of bulk buying/cooking. Rice, onions, garlic, peas, sweetcorn maybe, add some ham (Iceland does big packs of, what 800 grammes of good ham offcuts for £1.75?) and you could feed 4 people as much as they wanted to stuff down their faces of risotto (or risotto like at least) for well under a tenner.
There really is a reason that things like pizza, stews, risottos, spaghetti, curries, pilafs and so on exist. They’re peasant food: lots of calories with enough (but not much more to be honest) protein and vitamins, some taste (the whole point of the cooking methods is to give them that taste) and above all, they’re cheap.
What they’re not though is instant. They’re absolutely fabulous if you’re cash poor, not so much if you’re time poor.
But that’s a very different matter, isn’t it?
Damn, you can even make a hamburger, chips and beans with it, a soup and a pudding for what MaccyD’s charges you for the Big Mac alone. And there’s absolutely nothing at all nutritionally wrong with a hamburger made from real identifiable meat and bread that has actually been within sight of wheat.
There are parts of the world where bad nutrition certainly is an economic matter. This is simply not true of the UK.