Study finds connection between credit card use, weight gain

Published: Wednesday, July 17 2013 4:30 p.m. MDT

As Bloomberg reported last week, consumer borrowing in the U.S. rose $19.6 billion in May, the highest increase this year.


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Is there a correlation between credit card use and weight gain?

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research concludes there is, if only superficially.

“Some food items that are commonly considered unhealthy also tend to elicit impulsive responses,” the study's authors stated in the abstract. “The pain of paying in cash can curb impulsive urges to purchase such unhealthy food products. Credit card payments, in contrast, are relatively painless and weaken impulse control.”

The study tracked the shopping behavior of 1,000 households during a period of six months and found that families who relied on credit cards for their grocery purchases were more likely to buy potentially fattening foods.

The economists who wrote the report said families who paid in cash felt a stronger sense of restriction by using cash, thus also spending less on unhealthy foods.

"Credit cards are synonymous with a buy now, pay later mentality," PaydayLoansOnline.net spokesperson Sam Milo told Mainstreet. “As a result, the consequences of certain purchases are just not being thought through."

Read more about Credit card use on Mainstreet.