Which is worse: fast food or sit-down restaurants?

Shayne Jacopian for redOrbit.com – @ShayneJacopian

Many people feel that food from a sit-down restaurant is much healthier than a fast-food combo, but is that correct? After all, all that salt and grease can’t be good for you, right?

Well, yes– fast food is pretty bad for you, but new research shows that neither choice is healthier than eating at home.

According to findings published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat at fast food restaurants and those who sit down at full-service restaurants consume, on average, an extra 200 calories and 10 grams of total fat than they would have if they’d eaten at home.

That goes for both dining options.

In fact, in some respects, sit-down meals are even worse for you than fast food options, containing an average of 58 milligrams of cholesterol more than a home-cooked meal, opposed to fast food’s 10 extra milligrams. Additionally, meals from full-service restaurants contain 412 more milligrams of sodium than the average home-cooked meal—fast food has an extra 300 mg, according to the source.

Of course, in other areas, fast food is still worse, containing much more saturated fat and sugar than home-cooked meals, while restaurant meals fare better.

Negative health implications start to even out, making fast food about on par with restaurant meals, as far as health is concerned. The choice between the two then comes down to price and, of course, deliciousness.

Just this March, American restaurant and bar sales exceeded grocery store sales for the first time ever. According to this study, though, Americans should maybe start cutting back on that—eating out is less healthy than eating at home, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s at a fast food restaurant or somewhere a little fancier.


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