With four growing children, my wife and I are at the supermarket a lot. I mean, A LOT. And rather than take out cash for every visit, the majority of the time we pay with a credit card.
I just read some studies done by researchers at State University of New York and Cornell University that are going to change what my wife and I carry in our wallets.
The first ATM-opener:
Researchers analyzed the shopping habits of a random sample of 1,000 households and discovered that when shoppers pay with credit cards they throw more cookies, sugary candy, high-calorie chips and other junk food in their carts than when they pay with cash.
Three subsequent studies used a mock shopping task on a computer screen.
Half of the participants were told the virtual store accepted all major credit cards and the other half was told it accepted only cash.
Just like the real-life shoppers, the virtual credit-card shoppers spent more money on vice items (over 70 percent more, in fact) than did cash buyers.
So just the idea of using a credit card can lead to bigger bellies.
Why Paper’s Less Fattening Than Plastic
The final two studies did a deeper dive into the psychology behind cash vs. plastic.
They confirmed that impulsivity and unhealthiness are highly correlated.
That is, we’re not very impulsive about buying healthy foods—whether we’re paying by cash or credit.
When it comes to “vice” foods, however, when we pay with plastic, we seem to lose all control. We not only spend more on junk (regardless of price) that we had no intention of buying, but we also regret it more later.
The result? We’re broke, bummed and facing a pantry full of junk food.
Blame it on a principle experts call the “pain of payment.”
When you need to dole out the green stuff, you literally hand over something that’s valuable.
Doing that makes you more likely to pause a moment and truly consider the cost — to your wallet and your waistline.
Paying with plastic, on the other hand, doesn’t feel like you’re losing anything since there’s such a delay between purchase and payment.
So you’ll throw whatever looks good at the moment into your cart without thinking. And on go the pounds!
Green Your Way Thin
It may take a little more planning, but I am definitely going to go with cash for my next grocery run.
Hey, if it can help me keep away from the Ben & Jerry’s, it’s worth an extra trip to the ATM!
The foods you eat can have a major effect on your weight.
Some foods, like full-fat yogurt, coconut oil and eggs, help with weight loss.
Other foods, especially processed and refined products, can make you gain weight.
Here are 3 foods to avoid when you're trying to lose weight
Whole potatoes are healthy and filling, but french fries and potato chips are not. They are very high in calories, and it's easy to eat way too many of them.
In observational studies, consuming French fries and potato chips has been linked to weight gain.
One study even found that potato chips may contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food.
What's more, baked, roasted or fried potatoes may contain cancer-causing substances called acrylamides. Therefore, it's best to eat plain, boiled potatoes.
BOTTOM LINE:French fries and potato chips are unhealthy and fattening. On the other hand, whole, boiled potatoes are very healthy and help fill you up.
Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, are one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet.
They are strongly associated with weight gain and can have disastrous health effects when consumed in excess.
Even though sugary drinks contain a lot of calories, your brain doesn't register them like solid food.
Liquid sugar calories don't make you feel full, and you won't eat less food to compensate. Instead, you end up adding these calories on top of your normal intake.
If you are serious about losing weight, consider giving up sugary drinks completely.
BOTTOM LINE: Sugary drinks can negatively affect your weight and general health. If weight loss is your goal, then giving up soda and similar drinks may have a big impact.
Most fruit juices you find at the supermarket have very little in common with whole fruit.
Fruit juices are highly processed and loaded with sugar.
In fact, they can contain just as much sugar and calories as soda, if not more.
Also, fruit juice usually has no fiber and doesn't require chewing.
This means that a glass of orange juice won't have the same effects on fullness as an orange, making it easy to consume large quantities in a short amount of time.
Stay away from fruit juice and eat whole fruit instead.
BOTTOM LINE: Fruit juice is high in calories and added sugar, but usually contains no fiber. It is best to stick to whole fruit.
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