The Biggest Nutritional Threat When You Dine Out

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The amount of food that you get in a meal at a restaurant is typically several times that of a healthy serving size.Dining out is not the rare occasion it used to be when our parents were growing up. We have evolved into a culture that is wired, plugged-in and on-the-go 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Heading out to a restaurant has become a sort of reward for surviving all this hectic activity.

If, like most of us, you eat out far more frequently than maybe you should, here’s some health news courtesy of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, Canada: beware of restaurant meals that will have you packing on the pounds.

“No problem,” you might be thinking. “I’ll just avoid ordering deserts and I’ll stay away from drinking too much alcohol.” Well, that’s only going to partly protect you from the potential threat restaurant meals pose to your health.

ALSO: How to make healthier choices when you eat out

According to the Toronto research team, trying to eat healthy while eating out is only half the battle. Sure, some restaurants now offer a nutritional profile of the foods they serve. You can now tally your fat intake and your sodium intake, if you’re so inclined, though this is generally much easier to do at fast-food type restaurants as opposed to the sit-down kind.

For their study, the researchers made their own attempt at tallying the calorie content of restaurant foods. They collected nutritional information online from a number of eating establishments. In all, a total of 4,178 tasty side dishes, tempting entrees, and individual items were analyzed by the researchers.

Which do you think fared better on the “good for your health” scale: sit-down restaurants or fast-food joints? Surprisingly, the researchers found that sit-down restaurants had higher calorie counts compared to fast-food restaurants. What’s more, although serving size and caloric density (the sheer number of calories you get with each meal) were both associated with an elevated calorie count, serving size was the bigger culprit, for the high amount of calories in the meal.

It seems that it isn’t so much what you order, but rather how much you eat. Don’t feel pressured into eating more than you normally would at home just because someone has served you a large meal. Here’s some health advice: stop eating as soon as you’re full and take the rest to go.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
A study finds that the biggest threat to nutritional health when eating out is the size of meals, rather than caloric density.