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Fast-food and full-service restaurant eating is generally unhealthy

Harold Mandel's picture
Eating out

Eating at fast-food and full-service restaurants has been found to be associated with poor health outcomes. People often seem to feel it's fun to eat out. However, a recent study shows it's not usually a very healthy experience to eat out.

Along with the obesity epidemic more people are eating away from home

Researchers investigated the effect of eating at fast-food and full-service restaurants on adults’ energy intake and dietary indicators reported Public Health Nutrition. Along with the increasing obesity epidemic in the United States it has been noted that there has been a noticeable upward trend in total energy consumption which is derived from food eaten away from home.

The subjects in this study included 12,528 respondents who were between 20 and 64 years old. The subjects completed 24 hour dietary recall interviews. It was found that fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption were associated with an increase in daily total energy intake and with higher intakes of saturated fat. The researchers concluded that for adults eating at fast-food and full-service restaurants there was an association with higher daily total energy intake along with poorer dietary indicators.

Adults consumed about 200 more calories on days they ate at restaurants

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Eating at both fast food and full service restaurants is associated with higher caloric intake and poorer nutrition reports the American Cancer Society. On particular days when adults ate at restaurants they consumed approximately 200 additional total daily calories. In fact for adults eating at both fast-food and full-service restaurants an association has been found with increases in consumption of many unhealthy things including:

1: Calories

2: Sugar

3: Saturated fat

4: Sodium

Dr. Nguyen of the American Cancer Society says the United States has become one of the most obese nations in the world with greater than one in three adult men and women being defined as obese. As obesity rates have risen in the United States there has been a marked increase in total energy consumption which is consumed away from home. About one in four calories came from fast food or full service restaurants. This study has confirmed that fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption for adults is linked to higher daily total energy intake and more unhealthy dietary indicators.

An awareness of the problem of more unhealthy dietary patterns with eating out should encourage efforts to improve diet and lower energy consumption from restaurant sources. The very real obesity epidemic should serve as a warning to take these concerns seriously.