Dining out in full-service restaurants offers equivalent risks to your health and your bodyweight as noshing on fast food. That was the sobering conclusion from a new report that followed the dietary habits of a representative sample of 18,098 US adults over an eight-year period. The researchers found that when Americans dine out, whether in a fast food or a sit-down restaurant, they consume on average 200 more calories than they would for a meal prepared and eaten at home. For perspective in just how frighteningly fattening that can be, note that consuming an extra 200 calories a day translates to about 20 pounds of weight gain over one year! To add insult to injury, the study also uncovered that dining out in sit-down establishments also comes with the added perils of consuming excess saturated fat and sodium. In fact, the analysis found that sit-down dining boosted sodium intake even more than fast food dining.
Based on these study findings and several others that have concluded similar results, I think it is virtually impossible to maintain a normal weight and remain in good health unless you prepare most of your meals at home and proactively limit dining out.(European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2015)