Regular consumption of home-cooked meals can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2015.
The study found that people who ate about two home-cooked lunches or dinners each day - or about 11-14 meals a week - had a 13 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to people who ate less than six homemade lunches or dinners a week.
‘Regular consumption of foods from a fast food chain restaurant increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.’
There was no enough data to include breakfast patterns. Researchers analyzed data from nearly 58,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study and more than 41,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The participants were followed for up to 36 years (1986 to 2012). None of the study participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the study.
"The trend for eating commercially prepared meals in restaurants or as take-out in the United States has increased significantly over the last 50 years. At the same time, Type 2 diabetes rates have also increased," said Geng Zong, a research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
Studies have shown that eating out, especially in fast food chain restaurants is linked to poor diet quality and higher weight gain in children and young adults. Overweight and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
In the current study, the researchers demonstrated that eating homemade meals was linked with less weight gain over eight years in these middle-aged and older health professionals.
However, the researchers did not provide a specific number of homemade meals people should eat each week.