For adults, eating at both fast-food and full-service restaurants is associated with significant increases in the intake of calories, sugar, saturated fat and sodium, according to a new study.
The study, which appeared online in Public Health Nutrition, found on days when adults ate at restaurants they consumed about 200 additional total daily calories whether they ate at fast-food restaurants or at full-service restaurants, according to a news release about the study on the American Cancer Society website.
Previous studies looking at restaurant food consumption have found adults who reported eating fast food consumed more calories, fat and sodium, as well as fewer fruits, vegetables and vitamins compared with those who did not report eating fast food.
Previous studies also have linked meals consumed at both fast-food and full-service restaurants with higher caloric intake.
Binh T. Nguyen, PhD, of the American Cancer Society and Lisa M. Powell, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Chicago used more recent data from more than 12,000 respondents between the ages of 20 and 64 taking part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2010 for the study.
Participants in the study were asked by researchers about visits to fast-food and full-service restaurants on two successive days.
The study found on days when eating at a fast-food restaurant, there was a net increase of total energy intake (194.49 kcal), saturated fat (3.48 g), sugar (3.95 g) and sodium (296.38 mg). Eating at a full-service restaurant also was associated with an energy intake (205.21 kcal), and with higher intake of saturated fat (2.52 g) and sodium (451.06 mg), according to the release.
The study found individual characteristics moderated the impact of restaurant food consumption, with adverse impacts on net energy intake being larger for black adults compared with their white and Hispanic counterparts and greater for middle-income than high-income adults, according to the release.
The United States is one of the most obese nations in the world, with more than one in three adult men and women defined as obese, Nguyen said in the release. Just as obesity rates rise, theres been a marked increase in total energy consumption consumed away from home, with about one in four calories coming from fast-food or full-service restaurants in 20072008. Our study confirms that adults fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption was associated with higher daily total energy intake and poorer dietary indicators.
The researchers say efforts to improve diet and reduce energy intake from restaurant sources could help reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in U.S. diets, according to the release.