Frequent Restaurant Dining Significantly Raises Calorie Load

By Sandy Todd Webster
Oct 17, 2014

If you have road warriors on your client roster, it is probably a challenge for them not only to exercise while traveling but also to maintain a balanced eating plan. New research shows it’s really no wonder they struggle with weight since, on average, eating at restaurants can pack on an extra 200 calories per day.

The study, which appeared online in the August 7 issue of Public Health Nutrition (doi:10.1017), found that on days when adults ate at a restaurant, they consumed about 200 more calories for the day, whether they ate at fast-food restaurants or at full-service restaurants.

Previous studies looking at restaurant food consumption have found that adults who reported eating fast food consumed more calories, fat and sodium, as well as fewer fruits, vegetables and vitamins than than those who did not report eating fast food. Studies have also linked meals consumed at both fast-food and full-service restaurants with higher caloric intake.

For this study, researchers used data from more than 12,000 respondents aged 20–64 taking part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2010 (NHANES). Participants were asked about visits to fast-food and full-service restaurants on two successive days.

The study found that on days when survey respondents ate at a fast-food restaurant, there were net increases in 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 was also associated with an increase in energy intake (205.21 kcal) and with higher intakes of saturated fat (2.52 g) and sodium (451.06 mg).

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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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