Home Quick Quotes Who Said It: “Living On Food Stamps Would Be A Great Diet; I’d Be So Skinny”

Who Said It: “Living On Food Stamps Would Be A Great Diet; I’d Be So Skinny”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

From Salon:

Fox News ran a segment about Cory Booker’s challenge with a Twitter follower to live on food stamps for a week. Though people on food stamps only receive about $133 for food per month, contributor Andrea Tantaros didn’t think it sounded so bad:  ”I should try it because, do you know how fabulous I’d look? I’d be so skinny. I mean, the camera adds 10 pounds. I would be looking great.”


The worst part about this is the fact that this will now probably result in a bunch of people parroting this little quip because it’s so funny! See, look – even I can be awkward and creepy about both size and poverty at the same time by joking about how poor people should just be skinny like I’d be if I had no money! Even the ability to not feed your family has a silver lining!

Every time I start to ask a question, I just remember that the universal answer is “This was on Fox News.” and then I just sigh.

Media Matters goes a little deeper on the commentary:

Tantaros’ comments are appalling and uninformed. While most of us feast on turkey and yams, stuffing and cranberries, on Thursday, millions of Americans will go hungry, just as they do every day. The food stamp challenge exists to demonstrate the struggles that food insecure families face trying to live on their monthly allotment of food.

Despite the difficulty in subsisting on food stamps, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which was formerly known as food stamps, helped keep millions of families out of poverty in 2011.

Tantaros’ commentary continues a long and extensive Fox campaign to dismiss hunger-related issues and to demonize SNAP recipients.

I guess this is what I get for expecting television pundits to have souls some sense.

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Kaycey November 26, 2012 - 11:53 AM

Fox News is full of morons who can’t connect a premise to a conclusion to save their lives. It cost MORE to have a healthy lifestyle therefore being on a fixed income does not benefit to the cause of weight control as you are more likely to buy processed and other unhealthy types of food to “get more bang for your buck” so to speak. What an idiot. At least she has her looks.

Porsha November 26, 2012 - 4:22 PM

My thoughts exactly… And I am speaking from experience. Growing up in single parent low income home with three siblings, it costs too much to purchase adequate amounts of fresh fruits and veggies or the more expensive whole grain pasta, cereal, and bread. So you settle for syrup laced canned fruit, salty canned veggies, and cheap sugary cereal.

And that doesn’t address the issue that quality stores aren’t located in the middle of the “hood” or “country” where many low income families reside. Add to that many of those families don’t have transportation to get to any store at all so when they go they buy more cans and frozen items because they might not have a ride back to the store to buy fresh items, now you looking at the true picture. That’s one factor as to why low income people tend to be overweight…. I hate ignorance… Ugh

Channing February 19, 2015 - 1:35 AM

The biggest problem with the people at Fox News, is their thinking is so backwards. They all speak and act as if this is 1951 and everyone is conservative, which they’re not. If they were a church they would be Westboro Baptist.

Rita November 26, 2012 - 11:55 AM

So happy I came across this post today. It is good for me to know. I was taking a break from working on a project for a not for profit. My work is on developing tools for how well one can eat and feed others given the dollar limitations of food stamps and choice of food, etc. There are many misconceptions but I believe and can show that given most circumstances there are ways to thrive and eat well…we just need to be taught how and not limit our belief s into thinking there is only one way/system. I hope the more these tools spread the less we hear people parroting misconceptions.

Patty November 26, 2012 - 2:22 PM

Obviously this is offensive, but it is also uninformed: she wouldn’t lose any weight, because she would quickly find that fresh, healthy foods are more expensive than cheap, unhealthy and processed foods.

BlackBerry Molasses November 26, 2012 - 2:45 PM

This is their continued campaign on “entitlement” programs– medicaid, medicare, SNAP, social security, etc.
The problem is their “bloodletting the poor” candidates didn’t win the presidency, and they’re mad about it. So they’re trying to demonize/ make fun of people who rely on public assistance to get by.

Patti November 26, 2012 - 2:55 PM

Rita I would love to hear more on your work with a project like that.

Black Beauty on a Budget November 26, 2012 - 4:09 PM

As a woman trying to eat clean AND subsist on SNAP, let me tell you the monthly allotment is NOT conducive to skinny. I make it work by eating whatever [fruits, veggies, fresh meat] is on sale [as opposed to whatever I want] and couponing. I only drink water [true story]. Processed, microwaveable, middle-aisle-of-the-grocery-store foods are by FAR cheaper. But I avoid them and make it work. Fortunately I only have a family of two, myself and my eight year old son, so we often have leftovers [which I once threw away when I had income from working]. I find that the courteous smiles of the Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Whole Foods employees disappear when I pull out my EBT card. I do not let this deter me from patronizing these stores, and behave as the bigger person by smiling and saying thank you on my way out. I am aware that you can even use the benefits at farmer’s markets, although I have yet to do so. I am not a freeloader. I am college educated. I worked hard in my former profession for years. My situation is born of a series of unfortunate events, and has been very humbling. I detest comments that make light of people in my situation. I detest the general assumption that I receive benefits because I am lazy, uneducated, unqualified, etc. While I do not advertise my situation or consider it permanent, I am still more proud to be a benefit card toting clean eater than one of the many fools in this country who feeds their family crap.

MyzDevyneOne November 26, 2012 - 6:45 PM

I think you are the face of the people getting SNAP today–folks that have truly fallen on hard times, after doing everything you were supposed to do. I’m a student, and I wanna tell you, eating healthy and fast on SNAP is HARD. You are an inspiration!

Sophia November 26, 2012 - 8:16 PM

You are such a powerful example of someone who is trying to live well on SNAP benefits. I was raised as a Welfare kid, and I will tell you…we hardly ate junk. If we ate cereal, it was total. If we drunk juice, it was apple. If we had milk, it was 2%. My mom would cooked boiled foods, and the only thing that we ever ate process at the was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It was three than four that lived off of assistance. It was difficult. I commend you for being savvy and having the courage to change your lifestyle. I don’t care if you had a paycheck. It takes real courage to lead a healthy lifestyle right now…and when you got people acting off the chain on FOX news…well, it can be discouraging and a hit on some self-esteem.

nicque March 9, 2013 - 8:55 AM

Do not take your eyes off the prize. this ia a ploy by the elite to decieve the public. SNAP benefits are not bankrupting the country. FOX is trying to redirect your attention. Ask the what percentage of the debt is direct corporate welfare in the form of direct payments to farmers NOT to produce crops that would lower the cost of healthful foods, compare how many dollars are being spent in foreign FOOD aid and how many grocers would be bankrupt without SNAP shoppers. Americans cannot afford to buy food because we do not have a living wage, i work 40 hours and 4 pizzas are $3.99. after tax and insurance and all it takes to be presentable at work, i will have to put in about 33 minutes to buy that salt/carb and i have a degree, a construction trade license and a kid. the rich enjoy more and should have to bear up under the costs of their elitest lifestyles. what sense does it make for poor people to give up their subsitence income so the elite can upgrade their blood diamonds. Food is political! i just wish i did not need a food stamp since i can’t get one

Elle November 26, 2012 - 5:23 PM

You said it right the first time. It’s not about the lack of sense, it’s about the lack of a soul. Whether they know better or not, comments like that are meant to be divisive and try to strip others of their dignity.

Sophia November 26, 2012 - 8:19 PM

What a really idiotic piece to do. As someone who was a Welfare kid growing up, it was very difficult for us to have food on the table. However, my mom would make sure we had food and not completely starve.

It’s not funny to make light of people who receive assistance, and to add insult to injury, put weight in it. FOX news already has a bad reputation for acting like total asses. So, this really doesn’t take the cake, but it makes them look so bad that shallow looks better standing next to them.

Peaches November 26, 2012 - 9:25 PM

This is a typical remark of someone who is out of touch with reality. A person on food stamps is living on the poverty level, and is struggling most of the time to feed themselves and possibly two or more children. This is not funny, nor is it a situation that any person would want to experience on purpose. Ridiculous!

CurvyCurlyGirl November 27, 2012 - 1:16 AM

I don’t agree with her statement, I think it is uninformed and ridiculous, but just because she said it on Fox news doesn’t make the whole network bad. I never understand why so many people hate Fox news anyway.

Erika Nicole Kendall November 27, 2012 - 11:13 AM

Who said this makes the entire network bad?

Who said anything about hating Fox News?

niksmit November 27, 2012 - 12:48 PM

I personally dislike Fox News for many reasons, most of which were outlined in the film Outfoxed.
But let’s get real here.
Who could be interpreted as sharing my distaste?

This line from you, Erika, is open to interpretation:
‘Every time I start to ask a question, I just remember that the universal answer is “This was on Fox News.” and then I just sigh.’

No interpretation really necessary for Kaycey’s comment:
“Fox News is full of morons who can’t connect a premise to a conclusion to save their lives”

I wouldn’t call Sophia’s comment hateful, but mostly factual. Still,
“FOX news already has a bad reputation for acting like total asses. So, this really doesn’t take the cake, but it makes them look so bad that shallow looks better standing next to them.”

Faux News fans could easily get their panties in a bunch reading this.

Erika Nicole Kendall November 27, 2012 - 1:05 PM

Nothing about my statement implies hatred. It does, however, imply lowered expectations.

If specific commenters have made statements one questions, then one should take it directly to said commenter. Doing the passive “I’ll just throw this out there and see who catches it” thing just doesn’t sit well with me, especially in regards to politics.

Bunched panties happen. I also can only hope that one rids themselves of the bunchyness-ness – and the accompanying attitude – before one engages. That’s all. LOLOL

Sophia November 27, 2012 - 3:07 PM

Hi, All:

I used to watch Fox News when we had cable a lot as I watched CNN and other media or news shows to see how they interpreted different events. However, my impression of Fox News has always been that most of the people who they have own their segments are not constructive with their criticism. And this example does take beyond the cake. However, Fox News wouldn’t be Fox News if they didn’t have guests like they have on their segments.

We all come into this world, and we are conscious enough, the majority of us comes with the basic “id.” Then, as we grow older, we examine our situations and what happens around us. Some of us learn a sensitive button, and others of us learn an insensitive button. Sometimes, some of us learn that ignorant button. It is just so happens that Fox News have these guest on more than on occasion.

My comment is meant to be hateful as someone said, but it is meant to be my observation on who they act. One of the problems with our society is that we are allowing people to get a way with a lot of insensitive and hurtful comments because it is their free speech to say what they want. Most people are immune to it because it is becoming more acceptable with many people. Most people are like…just ignored them…they are being jackass. The question I pose is…what happens when it starts becoming the accepted norm? It appears it always has.

And let’s not forget that the main eating disorders that have to do with you being overweight and underweight can caused someone to believe or make them feel as if they are doing the “right” thing when they are having a disorder. I had a friend once who was all about image…to the point where she would abuse laxatives. This friend lost fifty lbs, and she still didn’t think she was good enough. So, what happens when you have someone sick enough…really sick who takes these things to heart as there are some folks who do. I am just saying we already live in a negative, plagued society, and News outlets like Fox…isn’t making it any better. And that’s why I said what I said.

Myonie November 27, 2012 - 2:31 PM

Food stamps or not, whatever she’s eating does not reach her brain. What an airhead.

Sophia November 27, 2012 - 3:09 PM

I mean to say that my comment isn’t meant to be hateful but an observation on what that segment was about.

jennifer edwards November 29, 2012 - 5:15 PM

I’m lost foodstamps would make you skinny?? i’m a family of 3 so i get a decent amount i think. so i always have alot left over after i buy meats etc…. I know how to make it work, so I have enough to buy junk food which i’m getting better at not purchasing because i’m in the gym hardbody now and don’t want to just eat the calories back after I just sweated them off (makes no sense) but i’m, thinking if i had to pay cash $$$ for food I would probably be skinny lol because I would not purchase junk soda etc… actually a whole lot of shit!! I have no idea how much stuff really cost because i have my card but LORD!!! when that day comes and it’s coming soon I will probably be skinny on the pay out your pocket diet…

Tima September 10, 2013 - 3:25 PM

And do they not understand that the S in SNAP is SUPPLEMENTAL? As in, to aid or assist, it doesn’t mean it is the only money you will spend on food.

Allie December 16, 2013 - 10:15 AM

TBH I don’t have much knowledge about the food stamps program, but a good amount of people who shop at my grocery store use them. One time, there was a guy in front of me, and the only fresh item he had was cilantro … WHICH WASN’T COVERED by food stamps. It made me wonder if ANY fresh foods are covered…

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