You Are What You Eat!

I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” But have you heard the term “COVID body?” Or watched the plethora of weight loss ads on TV? 

Now new research reports that frequent eating of restaurant fare could shorten one’s life. As reported, it doesn’t matter if restaurant food is eaten in restaurant or as takeout. It can increase the risk of death from any medical condition. Obesity and diabetes head the list of causes along with other chronic conditions.

Masking, distancing, washing hands. Are we now being told not to eat out? No. Just don’t do it too frequently. What does that mean? Two or more meals a day prepared away from home. Really? I guess you could stop by a fast-food eatery on the way to work or for lunch and then order takeout for dinner.

Do you know what’s in your food

If you enjoy cooking, you won’t be surprised by this news because you know exactly the ingredients you use in preparing meals.

Why are restaurant prepared meals so appealing? Besides not having to cook, they are higher in salt, fat and refined sugars. All things that enhance the flavors of foods.

New research by the University of Iowa and just published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is one of the first to associate mortality and eating food that wasn’t prepared at home.

We love eating out for lots of reasons. And eating out continues to rise in popularity. In 1977, Americans consumed about 17% of their meals from restaurant fare. By 2011, that had doubled to 34%. 

The research evaluated 15 years of government health surveys, interviewed over 35,000 adults aged 19 and older, and then compared daily nutrition feedback to death records. 

How does eating out affect health? People who ate less than one meal per week prepared away from home were 49% less likely to die compared to people who ate two or more meals per day prepared away from home. There was also a 67% higher risk of dying from cancer and 18% higher odds of death from heart disease for those who ate two or more meals per day prepared away from home.

Can you believe the portions?

I don’t know about you but when I eat out, I like to order dishes that I don’t cook at home. They usually have delicious sauces and condiments. But the portions are enormous. Doggie boxes are always requested as the portion size is enough for two or three additional meals. But there is always the temptation to overeat because it tastes soooo good.

The researchers said future studies are needed to look more closely at the association of eating out with death from dementia and other chronic illnesses.

Sharing an appetizer or two with my dinner mate and enjoying an interesting glass of red wine is my solution. What’s yours?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on healthy eating for a healthy weight.