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Restaurant food makes you just as fat as fast food

If you eat fast food regularly, you'll put on weight. As a rule fast food contains more calories than food you prepare yourself. But the same is true for meals you eat in restaurants, a nutritionist at the University of Illinois discovered. Restaurant meals make you just as fat as the food you get at McDonalds or any other fast food outlet.

Ruopeng An analysed data on 18,098 adult American men and women, which had been gathered from 2003-2010 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in which participants described exactly what they ate.

The data enabled An to work out that fast food meals eaten at home or elsewhere provide nearly 200 kilocalories more than meals you prepare yourself. That's not much of a surprise.

But An also discovered that meals in restaurants [Full service away from home] or meals that you order from restaurants but eat at home [Full service at home] contain about the same amount of extra calories as fast food. In fact, if you eat in a restaurant, you actually consume more kilocalories than if you confine yourself to fast food.

Restaurant food makes you just as fat as fast food

Almost half of the extra kilocalories came from fat.

Both restaurant meals and fast food also contained more salt and more cholesterol and food prepared at home.

"These findings reveal that eating at a full-service restaurant is not necessarily healthier than eating at a fast-food outlet", An concluded in a press release from his university. [ 7/1/2015] "In fact, you may be at higher risk of overeating in a full-service restaurant than when eating fast-food."

"My advice to those hoping to consume a healthy diet and not overeat is that it is healthier to prepare your own foods, and to avoid eating outside the home whenever possible."

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jun;100(6):2339-46.

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