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Eating “healthy” food in restaurant is just as bad as fast food


According to a new study, eating out at a restaurant might be a bad idea for people trying to lose weight. The study also revealed that fast food may not be as unhealthy as full-serve restaurants.restaurant-food-fast-food

Researchers at the University of Illinois analyzed the health records (2003-2010) of more than 18,000 adult Americans, who were included on the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. Food from a full-service restaurant might contain healthy foods containing vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, but they also end up serving food high in cholesterol and sodium. On an average, an additional 200 calories are added to the consumption while eating out.

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“People who consume food at full-service restaurants are not aware of the calorie and nutrient content in food,” said lead researcher Ruopeng An, kinesiology professor at the University of Illinois.

Ruopeng stated that 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. Though the healthy sodium consumption limit can vary between 1,500 mgs to 2,300 mgs, Americans consumed about 3,100 mgs of sodium each day. The press release expressed its public health concern over the additional sodium intake as it a leads to hypertension and heart disease.

It was found that African-Americans consumed more amounts of saturated and total fats, sugar and salt than other races. Obese people consumed greater amounts of saturated and total fats, cholesterol, sodium and calories than either overweight people or those with a healthy weight. Among all income groups, middle-class consumers had the greatest intake of saturated fat, sodium and calories.

Researchers advise consumers to maintain healthy level of nutrients by eating at home, and make wise choices when selecting ingredients for meals and snacks. The study concluded that a holistic policy intervention is warranted to target the American’s overall dining-out behavior rather than fast-food consumption alone. The study has been published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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About Anirudh Madhav

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A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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