Food prepared at home is becoming a luxury and not a necessity. People who are always on-the-go like OFWs rely on fast food restaurants for a quick meal or full-service restaurants for special occasions. Ordering food via drive-thru certainly, saves time for busy customers. However, which one serves the healthier option? Fast food restaurants may be viewed by many as culprits for unhealthy eating habits, but eating at regular restaurants may not be too different.
A Look at the Nutritional Content
A study done by Ruopeng An, an assistant professor, was published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Around 18,000 adults served as the sources of data that were taken from 2003-2010. The author found out that when eating in a regular restaurant, an additional 58 mg of cholesterol is consumed while eating in a fast food restaurant adds 10 mg. A total of 187 calories per day and 10 or more grams of fat are added when people eat in a regular restaurant.
Meanwhile, fast food restaurants serve calories amounting to 190 per day. Also, they serve 297 mg sodium to our daily intake. But this is worse in full-service restaurants because they can serve up to 412 mg of sodium.
This study showed that eating in a full-service restaurant is not always better as compared to ordering food via drive-thru. Fast food and regular restaurants are linked to added sugar, sodium, fats, and calories to the food people consume. In a regular restaurant, people may be eating food with rich in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and vitamins, but the extra servings of fats, cholesterol, and sodium negate this health-friendly nutrients.
What Researchers Say
Carol Dombrow, a registered dietician from Heart and Stroke Foundation for more than 25 years explained that the added servings we get from regular restaurants are actually based on the amount of food we order. The more we stay in a restaurant, the more we order food. Assistant Professor An said that in a restaurant, patrons are more relaxed and have more time. They eat more because they are not conscious about eating too much.
Dr. Binh Nguyen, a member of the American Cancer Society, stressed that there is an increase in the amount of energy consumed when a person eats in a fast food restaurant or full-service restaurant. Eating in fast food restaurants and full-service restaurants should not be an everyday habit. Nguyen also said that when dining in a restaurant, choose salads or vegetables, and drink water instead of carbonated drinks.
A nutrition scientist named Emma Williams estimated that women eat a fifth of their calorie intake while men consume a quarter of theirs when dining in a restaurant. It all boils down to their food choices because they have a significant effect on health. She recommended protein-rich meals like chicken, fruits and vegetables, or whole grain bread. Also, avoid sweetened or carbonated drinks and fried food because they add up to the caloric content of food.
When comparing these two places, it is worth noting that they serve unhealthy nutrients at an almost equal level. The most significant factor is the way people act while in a fast food restaurant and a full-service restaurant. Being more relaxed and having more time in a full-service restaurant make people eat more.
So next time you are in a restaurant be mindful of the amount of food you are ordering. Ordering more means additional payment AND additional unhealthy nutrients. Remember that a big salary is no match for stratospheric hospital bills.
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