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Jul 29, 2014 07:52 AM

Your Giant American Refrigerator Is Making You Fat And Poor

Thoughts? In the comments, there's a nice war going on between the "go shopping for 15 minutes 4 times a week!" group and the "please, tell me about all of the extra time you have in your day" crowd, but I wanted to hear the opinions of people who I know are serious about food.

I just typed out a long post, but I really just want to know what you guys think about this. My biggest storage problem is produce, so I don't think my fridge is making me particularly fat. That tends to happen from pantry items, like pasta and all of the easy brownie ingredients. ;)

Your Giant American Refrigerator Is Making You Fat And Poor

There is a fair chance that if you're reading this post, your fridge--the most-used and largest appliance in your house--is screwing you. The refrigerator...
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  1. Here would be my issue with this particular idea. I entertain. If I get the itty-bitty fridge....I can't fit the prep for dinner parties or Thanksgiving there. And frankly, while I do go multiple times per week for shopping; where would I put the leftovers that I need to use for later that week. The fam is not going to end up with multiple sauces and processed foods hanging out if that's not what you buy (now my cocktail syrup and picklilng experiments are a whole other story. I think the article makes some good points, but I wonder if it was written by someone who REALLY plays in the kitchen a great deal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nocturnalbill

      I doubt it. I always question food-related articles from sites that aren't food-centric. That's why I brought it here to be dissected.

      It's probably good advice for singles or childless couples who live in big cities (read: close to shopping) who don't do Thanksgiving dinner.

      However, it's not like people in Europe don't have kids, so obviously they make their little fridges work somehow.

    2. I'm retired now, so I have the freedom to shop 3 times a week and I do. When I was working in NYC, or worse, Long Island, and commuting from NNJ, once a week was all that was possible. And I'm a single.

      People who live outside the Northeast were always shocked when I was on business trips and talked about a 2-hr one-way daily commute. They thought 20 minutes was a lot.

      Between US suburban sprawl, the price of gas, long commutes, and people working either longer hours or multiple jobs (just to make ends meet), daily shopping is a rarity, in many cases, even a luxury.

      1. McDonald's and TGIFridayChiliO'CharleiesMcChipotlHut is making your ass fat.

        NOT an appliance.

        Hell, TWO fridges can sometimes not be enough when entertaing for me.
        And a chest freezer.

        I lived in London and never minded shopping for groceries many times a week. Now it's not an option where I am in the US . Have to get in my car and drive.
        Fossil fuel use = fat ass. Circle of fat ass life. Hakuna matata.

        I just took my mountain bike to go get lunch today. But Gawker doesn't care about that.

        Urban sprawl killed the ease of core business district shopping in all but the biggest of cities and towns.

        Meanwhile I;ll also bike to my local Tuesday farmer's mkt. later today and happily fill my big-azz fridge. And trade gobs of basil for meat with my butcher. Basil---ughhhhh.
        And still be skinny at the end of the week.

        How the hell does that work??????????????/

        I do like using frozen Hot Pockets as tire chocks or door stops though in a pinch.
        Maybe that's the reason.


        Gotta love "First World" problems. ZOMG.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jjjrfoodie

          LOL we have 2 fridges and a chest freezer too.

          1. re: jjjrfoodie

            Agreed - it's not the fridge, it's the design of the neighborhoods we live in.

            Just under a year ago I returned to the US after living in Jerusalem for 5 years. In Jerusalem I'd shop ~3-4 times a week. Two of those trips were larger (one to the open air market near my office, the other to another open air market) and the other were smaller mid-week trips.

            The other different aspect is that in Jerusalem, for the most part, there were no major advantages of buying items in bulk (items like toilet paper n such aside). So if I bought one lemon 4 times a week, it'd basically cost the same as buying 4 lemons at once. And I'd risk that 4th lemon not lasting the entire week. In the US, it's cheaper to buy a sack of lemons in bulk even with the risk that maybe one will have to be tossed due to spoilage or poor quality.

            Also - most of my fridges in Jerusalem were the same size as most standard American fridges.

          2. I have a large (Canadian ;)) fridge. It is full of healthy foods, for the most part. The less healthy things tend to reside in my pantry...

            I do shop fairly often for produce, but even a couple of days worth takes up a lot of space. I have two sons, both of whom drink serious amounts of milk. A couple of 4 litre jugs of milk, which is only a few days' worth, takes up a lot of space. Even things like yogurt take a lot of space, as we go through a couple of large containers every few days.

            The freezer has a significant amount of frozen fruit, and I like to cook batches of things like spaghetti sauce and stew to have in hand for quick meals.

            The large fridge is not making any of us fat in this house!

            1. This article is sort of silly. I'm sure in some cases a big fridge is wasteful, but when you factor in fuel costs for additional grocery trips (for those of us who don't live within walking distance of a grocery store or don't live in temperate climates) you may very well break even. And I call BS on the whole fridge size/obesity correlation. If you fill your fridge with hot pockets, pudding, and soda, then sure, that's not the healthiest. Mine is largely full of produce, since I can only really shop once a week and I eat fruit or veggies with literally every meal. It also gives me space to package up leftovers for my lunch in reusable containers and prep a few things on weekends so that I can make meals quickly on nights when I get home at 7:30. This saves a lot of eating out, which I guarantee would be less healthy than what I make at home as well as generating unneeded packaging since I would need to get takeout for lunches.

              7 Replies
              1. re: ErnieD

                " If you fill your fridge with hot pockets, pudding, and soda, then sure, that's not the healthiest." - The problem is that CH might not really reflect the "average" America consumer and the large majority of people in the US use their large fridges to fill it with only processed food.

                1. re: honkman

                  Don't you suppose that the average person would fill a smaller refrigerator with the same type of food, only shop for food needing refrigeration more often? Why blame the refrigerator? It is a symptom, not the cause of the problem.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    That's an interesting question - would a smaller fridge which requires much more frequent visits to the supermarket have any impact on the buying habits/average nutritional profile of the shopping basket of an average American. The first reaction would be obviously - no, because either you believe in certain "nutritional ground rules" or not. But sometimes psychology is doing strange things on your behavior, e.g. more frequent visits to the supermarket -> more 'exposure" to the produce aisle -> you buy more produce etc. ? That would actually something interesting to study

                    1. re: honkman

                      It could just as easily be more frequent visits to the supermarket -> more exposure to the Hostess endcap -> you buy more Ding Dongs. I would definitely want to see some actual research before making a judgment on that one, especially since I eat healthier since increasing my storage space when moving from an apartment to a house.

                      1. re: ErnieD

                        I am not implying that my connection is correct and I agree research would have to be done (but I find it interesting that in European countries with smaller fridge sizes the average customers seems to be eaten healthier than the average US customer - which doesn't mean that not a lot of Europeans don't eat processed food but having lived in different countries in Europe and US overall on average I think the percentage of processed food in your average shopping basket is higher in the US than in Europe.

                    2. re: GH1618

                      Exactly. And you can also fill a pantry with unhealthy food just as easily as a fridge, or you can stop at 7-11 for a doughnut and a Big Gulp every morning rather than "wasting" fridge space on Greek yogurt and fruit. The idea that people who shop at bulk stores eat more, therefore larger fridge=obesity is not a jump that is supported by any kind of logic. We have plenty of problems with nutrition in this country but none of them are going to be solved by getting smaller refrigerators.

                      1. re: ErnieD

                        Totally. My fridges are filled with homemade items, lacto fermented items, herbs, etc. much more about HOW you eat.

                        No ding dongs...okay...ummmm....just that one package ;)