Sit-down dinner or drive-through: what is healthier?

What is healthier: a casual sit-down dinner at a restaurant or drive-through burger and chips? It may sound like a healthier option to have a sit-down meal but is it really?

A researcher from the University of Illinois analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey spanning from 2003-2010 and included over 18,000 Americans. The results aren’t looking very positive for those you like to dine-out.

Restaurant outings appear to be even less healthy than eating at a fast-food location. You may take in more nutrients depending on what you order at a sit-down restaurant but you’re also consuming lots of sodium and cholesterol. Does this surprise you?

In fact, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains that when you go out for food, wherever it may be (sit-down or drive-through), you eat an average of 200 more calories than you would at home.

Your dietary behaviour is influenced by the eating environment so if you have a longer dining time and greater variety at the restaurant this might contribute to excess calorie intake at the restaurant. The results found that Italian meals contained the most calories, then American, and Chinese; Japanese meals contained the lowest amount.

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We are constantly being instructed to eat more fruits and veggies but maybe government campaigns should look at changing our perspective on dining out. Do you think this would help to educate and promote better health for future generations?


Tell us, what do you think of these findings? Are you surprised?