The cash diet

October 25, 2010

Have trouble controlling yourself at the grocery store? New research published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests you should bring cash instead of a credit card. The study showed that paying with cash may lead to healthier food choices and less impulse purchases.

The research team analyzed the grocery shopping habits of 1,000 households over a period of six months, tracking what consumers bought and their method of payment. They found that people who paid with debit or credit cards were more likely to make impulsive food choices. These items also tended to be on the unhealthy side, HealthDay reports.

According to the study’s news release, follow-up studies showed that psychologically, paying in cash is more “painful”; therefore, this pain potentially curbs the purchase of vice items.

Study authors, Manoj Thomas, Kalpesh Kaushik Desai and Satheeshkumar Seenivasan, write:

“The notion that mode of payment can curb impulsive purchase of unhealthy food products is substantially important…The epidemic increase in obesity suggests that regulating impulsive purchases and consumption of unhealthy food products is a steep challenge for many consumers.”


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