Frank Beard’s “30 Days of Gas Station Food” experiment shows that Americans enjoy a a bevy of nutritious food options, even in the places we least expect them.
For most of human history, the primary concern of most people was getting enough food to eat. The invention of capitalism finally enabled the majority of people in market-based societies to focus on higher pursuits. Ironically, capitalism is now widely blamed for causing obesity—because of the availability of fast food, “food deserts,” or simply because the market incentivizes producers to make food as delicious and affordable as possible.
Whether or not you are a fan of free markets, it’s important to understand why this idea is wrong: The ultimate cause of obesity is not that we eat too much food, or that we lack access to healthy food, or that food today is simply too delicious. The cause is that we eat the wrong foods. The reason so much of the food in America is unhealthy is mostly due to bad science enshrined in agricultural subsidies and government-issued guidelines.
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Beard, who said he’s struggled with his weight for years, spent a month eating exclusively at gas stations. After 30 days of gas station food, he had not only lost weight; he had lost six pounds.
He said he chose fueling stations because he wanted to challenge the perception that they’re a bastion of junk food—donuts, pizza, candy, and soda.
Visiting more than 200 convenience stores across nine states, he found plenty of the aforementioned indulgences, but he also found large quantities of healthy foods: fruit, veggies, sparkling water, nuts, salads, and healthy made-to-order options.
What were the results of Beard’s experiment? After 30 days of gas station food, he had not only lost weight; he had lost six pounds (falling from 163 to 157).
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Beard’s experiment, though hardly scientific, suggests that healthy foods are available to most Americans. And while there is a perception in America that most poor people can’t afford to eat healthy foods, evidence suggests otherwise.
A quick Google search reveals modest average prices for an array of healthy food items—from bananas (58 cents per pound), to eggs (between $1.00 and $1.99 per dozen in most states), to milk (less than $3 per gallon in most states), to tuna fish (usually a buck or two per can).
Let’s Visit Kwik Star
See “30 Days of Gas Station Food” by Frank Beard