This shouldn't be surprising. Of course staying home and making your own meals is the healthiest! Restaurant meals tend to have very large portions, frequently with rich sauces, and the meal choices tend to be heavy on fat and salt. Think of all the fried foods, rich sauces, meats,breads and butter, and desserts available. At home you can limit excess, control the food ingredients, and eat only healthy foods. From Medical Xpress:
Restaurant and fast-food meals increase people's daily intake of calories, fats, cholesterol and sodium. Credit: Diana Yates
When Americans go out to eat, either at a fast-food outlet or a full-service restaurant, they consume, on average, about 200 more calories a day than when they stay home for meals, a new study reports. They also take in more fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than those who prepare and eat their meals at home.
These are the findings of University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An, who analyzed eight years of nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. An looked at 2003-10 data collected from 18,098 adults living in the U.S.
His analysis, reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed 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 - 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.
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. 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 said.
An also found striking differences in the effects of dining out on different groups."African-Americans who ate at fast-food and full-service restaurants took in more total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar than their Caucasian and Hispanic counterparts who dined out," An said. "The effect of fast-food restaurant consumption on daily total energy intake appeared larger among people with lower educational attainment," An said. "And people in the middle-income range had the highest daily intake of total energy, total fat, saturated fat and sodium when they dined at full-service restaurants."