Whose food is junk, exactly?

The BBC, quite rightly, asks “Are fast foods really any worse for us than posher alternatives?”. Comparing similar meals at KFC and Nando’s, Domino’s and Pizza Express, and McDonald’s and Ed’s Diner, the second, more upmarket chain comes in more expensive, and wiht more calories. So why is it that the cheaper option gets a bad rap?

Paul Campos and friends have a good answer. In an important article in the International Journal of Epidemiology, Campos et al note that:

“Public opinion studies also show that negative attitudes towards the obese are highly correlated with negative attitudes towards minorities and the poor, such as the belief that all these groups are lazy and lack self-control and will power. This suggests that anxieties about racial integration and immigration may be an underlying cause of some of the concern over obesity.”

This doesn’t give the green light to McD’s just yet. And there are a few arguments in the article that seem off kilter (I’ll get to them in a future posting). But they’re dead right when they point to the prejudices against the poor, and the food they eat.

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