Heading to the supermarket is fraught with temptation for dieters, with aisles crammed full of forbidden treats.
But U.S scientists have found consumers who take cash to the shops and leave their debit cards at home are more likely to leave junk food on the shelves.
Reporting in the Journal of Consumer Research, the study authors wrote: ‘Two factors contribute to this intriguing effect.
‘First, there is a correlation between unhealthiness and impulsiveness of food items: Unhealthy food items also tend to elicit impulsive responses.
‘Second, cash payments are psychologically more painful than card payments, and this pain of payment can curb the impulsive responses to buy unhealthy food items.’
The study could provide hope for shoppers keen to stick to a healthy eating regime.
The researchers from Cornell University and the University at Buffalo in the U.S analysed the shopping behaviour of 1,000 households.