A new study suggests that eating out in delicious restaurants, despite the cuisine, can be as costly on our nutritional health as indulging in junk food.
Researchers found that diners who ate food from restaurants were consuming notably higher amounts of calories, fat and sodium compared to meals they had prepared at home.
The study, released in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data gathered from 18,000 adults surveyed about their eating habits over a period of two days.
Around a third of those surveyed said they’d eaten fast food at least one or both days, and a quarter of participants reported eating restaurant food on at least one day.
In comparison to diners who prepared their meals at home, those who ate fast food, consumed on average 190 more calories per day, 11 grams of fat, 3.5 grams more saturated fat and 10mg extra cholesterol.
Whilst these results aren’t highly surprising, what is surprising are the statistics from those who ate at beautiful restaurants almost mirroring – if not heightening – the ‘fast food’ results.
“People associate fast food with junk food, but it turns out that most dishes at restaurants aren’t much better. “. . . people don’t know much about the food provided by full-service restaurants and if it is better or healthier compared to fast food or compared to food prepared and consumed at home,” Ruopeng An, professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Reuters Health.
Whilst it seems straight forward to suggest that people having control over what they cook and therefore consume would be a healthier option – the alarming statistics surrounding your favourite restaurant will surely make some diners think twice about regular visits to their local.
As always moderation is key. Foodies need not panic, your favourite restaurants will continue to be there but maybe we need to start recreating our favourite dishes at home, with a little more creative input.