Lifestyle & Belief

Eating out means more calories, salt and fat, study finds


New research has found that eating in restaurants means consuming large amounts of calories, fat and salt - often more than the recommended daily intake.


Justin Sullivan

Eating out often can make you fat and unhealthy, a new study has shown.

Researchers at the University of Toronto found that eating in restaurants means consuming large amounts of calories, fat and salt.

The giant analysis of 685 meals at small chain restaurants in Canada found that the average meal contained 151 percent of the daily recommendation of sodium - more than a day's worth, in other words.

The average meal also consisted of 89 percent of the recommended daily fat intake - 58 grams - but many meals contained all and more of the daily intake.

About 16 grams of that was from saturated fat.

As for calories, the average meal was about 1,128 calories - 56 percent of total daily intake. Dessert added over 500 calories to that.

The researchers looked at breakfast, lunch and dinner meals and found them to be about the same across the board.

Another study from Tufts University looked at 33 restaurants in the Boston area to see the amount of kilojoules - energy - were in each meal.

Way too many, according to the study.

Italian meals were the worst offenders, followed by American and Chinese.

Japanese and Vietnamese appeared to be the healthiest in terms of calories.

Researchers pointed out that the enormous quantity of fat, salt and calories in restaurant meals should be a wake-up call for those at risk of or suffering from heart disease, obesity and other ailments.

The findings from both studies were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.