But when Americans go out to eat, they consume more calories, salt, cholesterol and fat than when they prepare their meals at home, according to a report published last week in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
And full-service restaurants are not necessarily better than fast-food joints. In fact, Ruopeng An, the report's author, found that patrons of sit-down restaurants actually consumed more cholesterol and salt than those who ate fast food.
“It’s likely that people consider full-service restaurants to be healthier,” says An, a scientist at University of Illinois, “so they may be less likely to make informed decisions there.”
In some ways, the food consumed at restaurants was healthier: restaurant meals contained more beneficial nutrients than fast food, like vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids.