“For years the conventional wisdom has been that fast food is poor people’s food; that, thanks to government subsidies that ensure cheap calories, the drive-through is where people who can’t afford the “good” stuff — organic, grass-fed, etc. — go to feed their families on a budget. Why else would anyone eat that stuff?
But a new study to be published in the Journal for Population Health Management reveals the dirty little secret of the American middle class: It’s not cash-strapped Americans who are devouring the most Big Macs and Whoppers, it’s us! According to the study, a household earning $60,000 a year eats the most fast food, and one bringing in $80,000 is actually more likely to have it their way than one with $30,000. Suddenly, last year’s news from the Centers for Disease Control makes sense: Nearly half of obese adults in this country are not poor but middle-class, earning at least $77,000 for a family of four.
The fact is that most people with means, even limited means, will opt for the easiest option come dinnertime.
The unpalatable truth is that fast food’s attraction has never really been just about price. For all you hear about the Dollar Menu, a buck at McDonald’s buys a small burger, or small fries, or a small drink — hardly a satisfying meal for most people. As Mark Bittman reported recently in the New York Times, a typical meal for a family of four at McDonald’s in Manhattan costs about $28 — far more than what it would cost to make a healthier meal at home. For someone who’s really pinching pennies, a trip to McDonald’s makes no sense….”