According to a study on cash dieting by California’s William Sansum Diabetes Center, consumers in the US-approved menu labeling in fast food restaurants. However, labeling had no impact on the reduction of the amount of the calories being consumed.

The study on cash dieting was analyzed by comparing the calories per dollar of different American restaurants.

More precisely, the study compared the calorie per dollar (CPD) costs of menu items within famous fast food chains to create a novel concept for calorie–based, non-liner pricing.

The main outcomes of the analysis were Calories Per Dollar (CPD) and the Calories Per Order (CPO). The CPO includes those calories that are provided in one full menu offering. Similarly, the CPDs of healthy foods were calculated by using the same method. The findings were concluded after checking items from 4 major fast food restaurants.

The results of the analysis stated that there is a significant variation in the CPD values for menu items within and between fast food restaurants and for other healthy options. For instance McDonald’s menus varied from 49-492 and at Subway the CPD values varied from 9- 161. Moreover, a direct positive correlation between CPD values and CPO was reported.

The researchers believe that the use of CPD concept in their analysis has the potential to provide a new approach to support self-determined calorie restriction for fast food consumers by offering more healthy alternatives for a given dollar value. The study was published in the journal, Nutrition

Concept of Cash Dieting

Cash dieting is a concept which advocates limiting the amount of extra cash spent through cash diet by replacing your credit or debit card spending with cash. It is believed that by doing so the extra expenses can be cut down to a minimum. Experts say that by doing so the need for splurging can be put to rest and the incidences of using cash for ’entertainment’ can also be minimized.

The US Department of Agriculture USDA Economic Research Service in 2013, took an initiative of swapping unhealthy food options with healthy ones in school cafeterias by introducing whole grains, low-fat milk, more fruit, and a healthier mix of vegetables in school lunch programs.

However, other fast foods were also kept in the schools for sale and were named as competitive foods. The move, taken by USDA, also directs towards using the concept of cash dieting in the sense that children had both healthy and unhealthy options. If children wanted to buy cheaper but healthier foods they could go with the healthy lunch box option otherwise the competitive foods were there.

Similarly, a study funded by USDA supported the cash dieting concept by reporting that children when given cash ended up buying more healthy foods rather than other calorie-rich fast foods. The findings of this study published in the journal, Obesity suggest that when children have limited amount of money they tend to buy healthy foods which have high nutritive values.

The similar message of ‘Use Cash to Save Calories’ was also endorsed by the Food and Brand Lab of the Cornell University, New York. It was suggested that the parents should give their children currency in cash to develop a behavioral modification of buying healthy food choices.

Furthermore, a website run and developed by the USDA entails healthy food options for people who whilst following a cash diet want to consume healthier food alternatives. There are various ideas and menus available online to help set up whole healthy meal plates.

There are also recommendations for those who want to eat healthy while staying on budget. The less costly but healthier food options include whole pastas, quinoa, brown rice and salads etc.

Another study done by the researchers from the University of South Carolina, compared the calorie content of the different fast foods  restaurants and stated that there was no healthy fast food restaurants and that casual restaurants had more calories per meal than traditional fast food chains.