The Nutritional Loss of Extreme Couponing
Published: June 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm
I have heard about extreme couponing for years. The TLC network now has a show highlighting shoppers and the techniques they use to pay practically nothing for hundreds of dollars of purchases. They go in with a plan, buy only what is on the list, and watch with adrenaline flowing as their items are scanned at the register. Then with glee, they hand over their rewards card and coupons. The excitement builds as the number falls towards zero. The other shoppers stand around amazed and often break out into applause. Surely this is a feat, but I wonder, does anyone notice what is in the cart?
The people profiled love to show off their “stockpile”. This is usually a basement, garage, closet, or room filled with items. I don’t see the purpose of storing 50 bottles of detergent or a hundred tubes of toothpaste, but there is no harm amassing these products. It is the food items purchased that make me sit up and take notice. Most are either frozen, canned, or dehydrated goods. Candy is often purchased in large quantities if it can be had for free. The drinks tend to be sodas, sports drinks, or flavored waters. If the labels of these items were read, it would reveal high levels of sodium, sugar, and preservatives. This leads me to wonder about the value of extreme couponing.
The families who shop this way claim to save thousands of dollars a year. I have no doubt they do considering the amount of time and passion they invest, but what they save in dollars, they sacrifice in nutrition. Rarely do you see vegetables, fruit, fresh meat or chicken being placed into the cart. You never see milk or orange juice as part of the purchase. I’m not suggesting that these families do not include these items in their diets, but it should be recognized that most of what they purchase does not promote healthy eating.
We have become a nation dealing with rising rates of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Eating processed foods on a regular basis can lead to the development of these problems. The money saved at the grocery store now, may lead to higher medical bills in the future. It may lead to a life of physical difficulties and complications caused by a poor diet. All the coupons in the world can’t make that worth it.