Eating Out Doesn’t Guarantee Weight Gain
Eating out is not necessarily harmful to a person’s health, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Previous studies cited the increased frequency of Americans eating at restaurants as a reason for the nation’s obesity problem. Two-thirds of adults are classified as overweight and Americans spent over 40 percent of their food budget at restaurants in 2005, compared to just 15 percent in 1940. However, unlike earlier studies, the new research focused on county-level statistics. Researchers analyzed responses from over 700,000 people who participated in an annual telephone survey. It was discovered that people who live in areas with more fast-food restaurants were more likely to be overweight than people who live near more “full-service” restaurants. Full-service food and fast food typically have similar amounts of total fat, but full-service food generally has less saturated fats. The study defined fast food restaurants as an establishment where customers paid before eating. Author Mireille Guiliano recommended that people only eat half-servings at restaurants, which typically serve larger portions than people need. The research will be published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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