Many people think that dining out at full-service restaurants is a healthy option compared to fast food or takeout.
According to researchers, however, those people are wrong.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois reveals that full-service restaurant food is often more calorie-laden, and contains more cholesterol and fat per serving, than fast food options.
Researchers believe this is because of the large portions offered at full-service restaurants, since fast food joints tend to give smaller serving sizes of food. Though fast food was deemed less unhealthy than full-service restaurant food, researchers were reluctant to call fast food a healthy option.
For the study, the researchers surveyed 18,000 participants, asking them about their eating habits over a two-day period. In this survey, most participants reported eating at more full service restaurants than fast food restaurants.
According to Inquisitr, authors of the study also believe that this commonly held negative perception of fast food is distorting Americans’ beliefs of what is “healthy” and “unhealthy.”
While a full-service restaurant often guarantees a level of freshness that fast food restaurants cannot offer, there is no way to estimate or control the amount of sodium, oils, and fats that go into meals served at traditional restaurants.
According to Time, researchers also surmised that people tend to eat more in restaurant settings because of their relaxing nature. Many restaurants, for example, offer outdoor patios; according to research, outdoor dining encourages 43% of customers between ages 25-34 to spend more money on drinking.
This kind of relaxed atmosphere also promotes overeating.
Researchers hope that the results for this study will be a call for intervention by public health officials, in order to educate the American masses on the truth about traditional restaurant dining.
There are, of course, ways to watch your health while eating out. Always order meals that are vegetable-centered, and ask for sauce on the side.
And it’s okay to only eat a portion of your dish! After all, leftovers are half the fun of dining out!