New York, March 25 (IANS): Dinner is a popular activity around the world, but a team of researchers found that very often eating out was significantly associated with an increased risk of death from all causes.
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says there were 2,781 deaths among study participants, including 511 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 638 deaths from cancer.
“Our findings from this large nationally representative sample of adult Americans show that frequent consumption of meals prepared outside the home is significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality,” said researcher Yang Du of the University of Iowa in the United States.
Although some restaurants offer high-quality food, the dietary quality of meals outside the home, especially from fast food chains, is usually lower compared to meals cooked at home.
Evidence has shown that meals outside the home are generally higher in energy density, fat and sodium, but lower in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protective nutrients such as dietary fiber and antioxidants.
For this study, the researchers analyzed data from responses to questionnaires given during a face-to-face interview with a household of 35,084 adults over the age of 20 who participated in the 1999-2014 National Health and Nutrition Survey.
Respondents reported their eating habits, including the frequency of eating meals prepared outside the home.
During the 291,475 person-years of follow-up, 2,781 deaths occurred, including 511 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 638 deaths from cancer.
“New, albeit still limited, evidence suggests that frequent eating out is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, and biomarkers of other chronic diseases,” said lead researcher Wei Bao of the university.
“However, little is known about the link between eating meals outside the home and the risk of death,” Bao added.
Future studies are still needed to more carefully study the link between diet and death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and other chronic diseases, the researchers said.