One of the key traps that dieters fall into is food shopping when hungry, thus giving into the temptations they know they should resist. Organized shoppers stick to their shopping lists to avoid splurging on impulse buys which can play havoc with their good dietary intentions. It appears that those watching their weight should also leave their plastic at home whilst grocery shopping, as studies reveal that credit cards can make you fat.
According to the Binghampton University Magazine, a joint research study was conducted by a Binghampton Professor in conjunction with a Cornell Professor. The study revealed “that consumers who used credit bought 40 percent more unhealthy food than those who paid with cash.” Kalpesh K. Desai, a behavioral psychologist from Binghampton said “When we started running experiments, the finding was just robust. It took us by surprise. We didn’t expect the finding to be that strong and that consistent.”
The link was established that many consumers find it far more painful to physically part with cash than it is to purchase on credit. Moreover the additional spending goes on far more unhealthy foods than would be chosen if cash limited the options. Tempting cakes, cookies and candy are more likely to be added to the shopping basket when a convenient credit card is there to absorb the indulgence of impulse purchases.
Lack of discipline with credit cards is one of the major causes of credit card debt building up. Disciplined card holders who clear their balances in full each month tend to maintain higher credit scores and avoid unnecessary interest charges. It follows that those who use their credit cards for impulse purchases are less likely to keep abreast of the charges they run up, and thus more likely to carry a balance that attracts interest.
Giving in to the temptation of unhealthy food because carrying a credit card makes it easier to facilitate the purchase, can lead not only to weight gain, but increased debt levels. Interestingly it is noted that the huge growth in the use of credit in the past several decades mirrors the marked increase in obesity levels and consumer debt.
Desai believes if consumers want to be healthier they should grocery shop with cash, saying “If I value my health, then I probably need to carry cash or there’s this risk that I will buy unhealthy food.” Buying less with cash naturally results with less unnecessary food consumption.