Restaurant food adds to calories: Study

New York, July 2 (IANS) Not many are aware that whenever people eat out, whether at a fast-food outlet or a full-service restaurant, they end up consuming about 200 additional calories than eaten at home, says new study.

Besides, you also take in more saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than those who prepare and eat their meals at home, says a new study.

“People who ate at full-service restaurants consumed significantly more cholesterol per day than people who ate at home,” said researcher professor Ruopeng An from University of Illinois.

“This extra intake of cholesterol, about 58 milligrams per day, accounts for 20 percent of the recommended upper bound of total cholesterol intake of 300 milligrams per day,” An added.

The study found that that eating at a restaurant is comparable to – or in some cases less healthy than – eating at a fast-food outlet.

While people who eat at restaurants tend to take in more healthy nutrients – including certain vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids a” than those who eat at home or at a fast-food outlet, the restaurant diners also consume substantially more sodium and cholesterol – two nutrients that Americans generally eat in excess, even at home.

Those who ate at fast-food outlets also took in extra cholesterol, but only about 10 milligrams more than those who ate at home.

Fast-food and restaurant diners consumed about 10 grams more total fat, and 3.49 grams and 2.46 grams, respectively, more saturated fat than those who dined at home.

“The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats one eats to less than 5 to 6 percent of one’s total daily calories,” An said.

“That means that if one needs about 2,000 calories a day, less than 120 calories, or 13 grams, should come from saturated fats,” the researcher said.

“Eating at a fast-food outlet adds about 300 milligrams of sodium to one’s daily intake, and restaurant dining boosts sodium intake by 412 milligrams per day, on average,” An added.

Recommendations for sodium intake vary between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams per day, but Americans already consume more than 3,100 milligrams of sodium at home, An found.

“The additional sodium is even more worrisome because the average daily sodium intake among Americans is already so far above the recommended upper limit, posing a significant public health concern, such as hypertension and heart disease,” he said.

The study, reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analysed eight years of nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, collected from 18,098 adults living in the US.

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