Is Dining Out Destroying Your Dieting Goals?

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When you’ve reached the final hours of your work day—or any day that has been particularly taxing on your energy reserves—the idea of dragging yourself into your kitchen to prepare a fresh meal can be more exhausting. In this case, it seems much easier to make a quick stop at McDonald’s or your favorite restaurant and get something else to eat. However, nutritional experts find this isn’t the best practice in terms of our health, whether we’re eating a fast food burger or dining at a sit-down restaurant.

It’s Hard to Say ‘No’

How many of us really focus on our health when we go out to eat? The simple practice of going to a restaurant, in many of our minds, is like indulging, which means we should be able to take a “cheat day” and eat whatever we want. Regardless of the meal you choose, you have no real way of knowing exactly what is in it. We are bombarded with overstuffed portion sizes and all sorts of unhealthy options that load up restaurant menus and are difficult to resist.

People often end up falling into the pattern of picking whatever sounds best to them or appeals to their ideal tastes, then feel tempted to finish it all because of the sheer amount of food they receive. This proves especially dangerous for women who do not require the same amount of calories as men and thus do not have to eat quite as much food in comparison.

Fast Food Isn’t Your Only Concern

Studies increasingly show sit-down restaurants present the same nutritional ills as fast food joints. While fast food restaurants are frequently touted as the source of America’s health and obesity-related woes, even regular restaurants have their deficits. The calories they provide us with are often on the same intense level as a fast food place or worse. By studying 364 restaurants, experts have found the meals provided possess up to four times the calories we really need to consume in one day. Researchers have surveyed this effect with restaurants of all cultural varieties and found the same result. However, Italian, Chinese and American cuisine tend to be the worst for us in terms of the caloric quantity in the average meal—around a 1,495 calorie count.

What Can Be Done About This?

Experts turn the responsibility less on consumers and more on the restaurant owners themselves. It is believed restaurants foster a sense of gluttony in their customers through their practices. Experts recommend restaurants revamp their menus and servings so they provide customers with amounts of food they can actually eat, rather than trying to satisfy appetites that are much larger than the average person’s. At the same time, it would serve you well to pay fewer visits to your favorite restaurants and try to prepare nutritious home-cooked meals in advance. It’s better for your body overall.

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