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Dieting Nation

Food prices can be lowered if we cut down on eating. We’ll be fitter and doing that ‘austere thing’ as well.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2009 21:29 IST

When the times get tough, the fatties should start dieting. But what about the rest of us happy folks who have our three quadrilateral meals a day punctuated by sumptuous snacks? Even if we’re as fit as a Stradivarius and have — the gods be praised! — enough money to get more than our daily bread, wouldn’t it be wise to go easy on the meals and munchies while food prices are rising? Wholesale price numbers for last month showed a sharp increase in food prices from last year. They are likely to go farther northwards taking the prices of other items and services with them.

So while we don’t have to really worry about those who are scrounging for their next meal — scrounging prices remaining pretty much the same — or those wondering whether zero-calorie gateaux sprinkled with truffles will taste as good as the well-caloried ones, it’s us, the middle-class, who can use rising food prices as an opportunity. Without having to enroll in one of those wallet-reducing gyms a.k.a. fitness centres a.k.a. fat burning halls, one can do a bit of that ‘austere living’ made fashionable by the Mahatma and the Gandhis of our own. Not only will it save us the humiliation of haggling (“Humiliation? What humiliation?”) in wholesale markets, but it will also, after some large-scale dieting inspired to save the country from spiraling inflation, make us lean, mean non-obese machines.

But as some never-satisfied economists are bound to point out: will this mass cutdown on food intake really help those who really need our help? If prices start sliding, thanks to our eating less, food may become a little more affordable to some people, but at the cost of farmers who’ll be making less money out of the same output. But then, as always, we middle-class folks with upper-class reading habits can always tell them to grow cakes.