The University of Illinois has published a new study, in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and determined that consuming food at fast-food outlets or full-service restaurants contributes to an additional 200 calories consumed per day; in comparison to stay at home meals.
“These findings reveal that eating at a full-service restaurant is not necessarily healthier than eating at a fast-food outlet,” states study author Prof. Ruopeng An. “In fact, you may be at higher risk of overeating in a full-service restaurant than when eating fast food.”
The research analysis was based on analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which investigated the eating habits of 18,098 adults living in the US. The researchers were concerned with sodium and cholesterol daily intake as well as fat intake.
“People who ate at full-service restaurants consumed significantly more cholesterol per day than people who ate at home,” said Prof. An. “This extra intake of cholesterol, about 58 mg per day, accounts for 20% of the recommended upper bound of total cholesterol intake of 300 mg per day.”
“The additional sodium is even more worrisome because the average daily sodium intake among Americans is already so far above the recommended upper limit, posing a significant public health concern, such as hypertension and heart disease,” said Prof. An.
Fast food outlets and restaurants had meals that contained a higher fat content. People who ate at either fast-food outlets or restaurants would consume 3.49 g and 2.46 g more saturated fat respectively than people eating a meal prepared at home.
The data was differentiated by demographic groups and by educational level. African-American diners eating out were found to consume higher levels of total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar than white and Hispanic counterparts doing the same and people with a lower education were more likely to eat at fast food outlets.
Fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption and daily energy and nutrient intakes in US adults, R. An, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.104, published online 1 July 2015, abstract.