A new study has linked America’s obesity epidemic to the consumption of fast food. The research published in the journal of Public Heath Nutrition found that on average people consumed about 200 additional daily calories when eating at fast food restaurants or full service restaurants, with significant increases in the intake of calories, sugar, saturated fat and sodium.
Research participants consisted of 12,000 people between the ages of 20 and 64 who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003 (NHANES). Participants were asked about visits to fast-food and full-service restaurants on two successive days.
The study determined that eating at a fast food restaurant contributed to a net increase of total energy intake (194.49 kcal), saturated fat (3.48 g), sugar (3.95 g) and sodium (296.38 mg). Eating at a full-service restaurant was also associated with an energy intake (205.21 kcal), and with higher intake of saturated fat (2.52 g) and sodium (451.06 mg). Net energy intake was larger for black adults compared with their white and Hispanic counterparts and greater for middle-income v. high-income adults.
“The United States is one of the most obese nations in the world, with more than one in three adult men and women in defined as obese,” said Dr. Nguyen. “Just as obesity rates rise, there’s been a marked increase in total energy consumption consumed away from home, with about one in four calories coming from fast food or full service restaurants in 2007. Our study confirms that adults’ fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption was associated with higher daily total energy intake and poorer dietary indicators.”