Sit-In Restaurants Just As Bad As Fast Food


Nx86xdrewssexybody-3Written by: Kirsten Cowart

When it comes to maintaining your weight, eating at a full-service restaurant is just as bad for you as eating fast-food. On the days that you eat out instead of stay home and make meals, you are going to consume around 200 more calories on average.  

On top of the extra calories, you will also consume more cholesterol, sodium, fat and saturated fat when you eat out compared to if you had cooked your meal at home.  

Restaurants Are Sometimes Worse For Your Health Than Fast Food

Professor Ruopeng An from the University of Illinois Kinesiology and Community Health looked at 8 years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The data was collected between 2003 and 2010 and was from 18,098 U.S. adults.  

In his report published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, he found that eating in a restaurant is the same or less healthy than eating at a fast-food establishment on average.  

Even though restaurant food will tend to have more healthy nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, those who eat at home or even at a fast food place will consume a lot less sodium (salt) and cholesterol.  

We do need to take into account that even at home, the average American eats a lot of unhealthy processed foods and has an excess amount of salt and nutrient-poor meals.  Even then, cooking healthy meals at home is dramatically better than eating out or eating processed foods.  

Cholesterol And Fat Intake Are Higher When You Eat Out

“People who ate at full-service restaurants consumed significantly more cholesterol per day than people who ate at home,” Researcher An said. “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.”

People who ate fast-food also consumed extra cholesterol, but they only had around 10 mg more when compared to the average at home diet.  

Sit Down Restaurants – Just As Bad As Fast Food?

When you eat out, you will consume about 10 grams more of total fat when compared to those who eat at home.  

“The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats one eats to less than 5 to 6 percent of one’s total daily calories,” An said. “That means that, if one needs about 2,000 calories a day, less than 120 calories or 13 grams should come from saturated fats.”

Extra Salt Added To Food When You Eat Out  

When you eat at restaurants, you will eat around 412 extra milligrams per day of sodium and 300 extra milligrams of sodium if you eat at a fast-food place. The recommended daily intake for sodium is between 1,500 and 2,300 mg.  

The average American eats around 3,100 mg of salt when they are at home. So if you add up the numbers, you will be consuming around 3,500 extra mg of salt whenever you eat out, regardless of whether you eat at a fast-food or sit-down restaurant.

“The additional sodium is even more worrisome, because the average daily sodium intake among Americans is already so far above the recommended upper limit, posing a significant public health concern, such as hypertension and heart disease,” he said.

Other demographics also showed trends when it came to eating out.

Overweight And Obese Individuals Consume More When They Eat Out

If you struggle with excess weight, you are more likely to eat extra calories at fast-food restaurants. You are also more likely, statistically, to increase your total fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol when you are at a full-service restaurant.  

“These findings reveal that eating at a full-service restaurant is not necessarily healthier than eating at a fast-food outlet,” An said. “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.”

What do you do to help promote healthy eating when you are out and at home? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.

Source- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Restaurant meals can be as bad for your waistline as fast food is.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2015. <>.

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Kirsten Campbell
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Kirsten Campbell

Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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