Eating at full-service and fast-food restaurants ups the intake of calories, sugar, sodium and saturated fat, a new study finds.
It's no secret that fast foods have more calories. But did you know that eating at fast-food restaurants can also increase the amount of calories you consume? A new study by researchers from the American Cancer Society found that on a day when an adult eats at a fast-food joint, he consumes 200 additional calories that day. This also holds true for eating at full-service restaurants.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003 (NHANES), which included 12,000 respondents between the ages of 20 and 64. The participants were asked to report their visits to fast-food and full-service restaurants on two successive days.
Researchers found that on days people ate at fast food restaurants, there was a significant increase in total energy intake, saturated fat, sugar and sodium. On such days, the statistics of these consumptions stood at 194.49 kcal, 3.48 g, 3.95g and 296.38 mg, respectively. A similar observation was made on days participants reported eating at full-service restaurants.
"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," lead author, Binh T. Nguyen said in a press statement. "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."
Earlier this year, First lady Michelle Obama urged people to start cooking their meals at home more often because it is healthy and saves money. Addressing a health summit in Washington, the first lady highlighted the benefits of cooking at home saying that home-cooked meals have less fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories than meals prepared in restaurants, according to USA Today.
She also highlighted the fact that research showed that eating meals cooked at home was one of the best ways families can improve their health.
"Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas and congratulate ourselves on a job well done," she said, according to ABC News. "Just the opposite. Now is the time to fight even harder, because we now know it is possible to make a difference on this issue. We know that our strategies are beginning to work."
The current study was published online in the journal Public Health Nutrition.