A recent study showed that individuals who choose to eat out
consume approximately 200 calories more each day, as compared to individuals
who consume home-cooked food.
With the rising rate of obesity, Americans have also been
resorting to eating out, mostly consuming fast food, whereby they take in more
saturated fats, sugars and salts.
The study by Binh T Nguyen of the American Cancer Society
and Lisa M Powell of the University of Illinois consisted of over 12,000 respondents
between 20 and 64 years, who were asked questions about what they ate over two
Lisa Powell, the co-author of this study and a professor of
health policy and administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago said,
"eating out at restaurants should be the exception, not the norm."
The inference of this research was that individuals who ate
at fast-food joints consumed an average of an increase of 194 calories, 3 gms
of saturated fat and 296 mgs of salts; while those who ate at full-service
restaurants consumed an increase of 205 extra calories, 2.5 gms of fat and 451
mgs of salts.
Powell goes on further to explain that these calories come
from more energy-dense foods, larger portions served and the empty calories
from sweetened beverages.
Researcher, Susan Roberts, who is the Director of the Energy
Metabolism Laboratory at Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on
Aging at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston observes, "We
always underestimate large portions, so people don't realize that restaurant
portions are as excessive as they are." She adds "This is why we need
menu labeling on all restaurant meals, not just the fast-food and larger
Powell suggests, "See if you can order a half portion.
When there is a choice of sides, opt for veggies and salad rather than fried
items. See if you can get the sauce or dressing on the side, and drink water
rather than soda."
The researchers concluded that all individuals must learn to
micro-manage their orders or choose to have half their order packed in a doggie
bag for later consumption.
The study appears in the Public