Trying to save money quickly puts on the pounds

Bargain hunting for food is unhealthy.


Germans have a reputation for being bargain hunters. But sometimes they seem to save money in the wrong places. For some time now, nutrition experts have been criticising the ‘Geiz-ist-geil’ (being stingy is cool) mentality of Germans when it comes to food. It is at variance with a healthy diet in many cases. A British study has now provided proof for something that scientists worldwide have long since accepted: people who base their food purchases excessively on special offers and low prices run the risk of becoming overweight as a consequence. Consumer protection groups have been warning for a long time that food that is particularly cheap is usually not particularly healthy.

A recent study funded by Cancer Research UK has provided evidence of the link between an 'à la special offers’ diet and overweight or even obesity. The researchers analysed data on the shopping behaviour of 16,000 households in the UK and compared this with certain demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the shoppers, such as size and weight. They then divided the individuals into four groups according to the proportion of cheap products found in each shopping basket.

At the end of their evaluation, the researchers reported a clear finding: 72 per cent of those people who chose cheap food particularly frequently proved to be overweight. Only 64 per cent of those consumers whose purchases were less influenced by the price aspect were overweight. The risk of obesity (adiposity) was 28 per cent higher in the group that shopped for bargains. According to Cancer Research UK’s scientists, the results were true for all age groups and levels of income.

Two for the price of one tempts overconsumption

The researchers also offer an explanation for these links. They found that unhealthy foods with a high content of fat, sugar and salt are often advertised as special offers. On the other hand, the study says, the cheap price tempts people to buy more than they had planned. And at home, two bars of chocolate for the price of one does not necessarily last twice as long as a single bar – with the consequence that the shopper ultimately consumes more calories than he or she intended. And consumption of these particularly inexpensive offers then inevitably becomes noticeable in the form of superfluous pounds.

The authors of the study also found it significant that bargain shoppers’ trolleys contained remarkably few healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables. On average, these customers bought about 30 per cent less fruit and almost 25 per cent less vegetables than those who were not on the lookout for particularly low prices. From this the scientists concluded that those who were hunting for special offers in the supermarket apparently saved on healthy products, because they were more expensive, in order to ‘grab’ the unhealthy bargains. Overall, the researchers found clear evidence that the best-price shoppers purchased more sugar and less fibre than all other consumers.

The cancer researchers found the results of the study all the more alarming given that overweight and obesity are not only associated with cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes but with numerous types of cancer as well. That is why the scientists are calling for the introduction of limits for such special offers. Nutritional psychologists at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences also investigated the relationship between buying food with a high energy density at a comparatively low price and being overweight; they also concluded that too many cheap temptations lead to overconsumption. These experts also believe that politicians should give more consideration to introducing legislation covering special offers for food products.

Almased offers optimal value for money

Shoppers who purchase Almased have already given proper consideration to what to buy because they are opting for an intelligent, healthy and figure-conscious diet at a fair price. Almased guarantees not only an optimally conceived alternative diet in terms of calories: an Almased drink also provides the body with important, high-quality nutrients. An Almased shopper thus benefits from a price-performance ratio that is a real bargain. But Almased is more than just a bargain – its health benefits exceed its price!

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