HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessThis meal can increase your risk of heart disease and early DEATH

This meal can increase your risk of heart disease and early DEATH

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While many of us have relied on takeaways during the pandemic lockdown, a recent study suggests that we should opt for more home-cooked meals.

Frequent consumption of food made away from home – whether in a restaurant or via takeaway – raises the risk of heart disease and cancer, according to experts.

The authors of the study, from the University of Iowa, assert that the increased risk is caused by consuming two meals or more per day, which is a rather substantial quantity.

However, the study has some repercussions for consumers who have become increasingly dependent on their phones to place orders through Food apps.

Foods prepared away from home have a higher energy density, fat content, and sodium content, but are lower in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dietary fiber, and antioxidants.

“Emerging, although still limited, evidence suggests that eating out frequently is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes and biomarkers of other chronic diseases,” said Wei Bao, the author of the study, also working as an assistant professor at the University of Iowa.

“However, little is known about the association between eating meals away from home and risk of mortality.”

The study analyzed data from 35,084 adults aged 20 years or older who responded to questions presented during face-to-face household interviews.

The individuals were enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2014, a US government-sponsored research study that tracks the country’s nutrition.

Respondents provided information about their dietary habits, including the frequency of consuming foods prepared outside from home.

“We linked these records to death records through December 31, 2015, looking especially at all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cancer mortality,” said first author Dr Yang Du, also at University of Iowa.

During the approximately eight-year follow-up period, 2,781 deaths occurred, including 511 deaths due to cardiovascular disease and 638 deaths due to cancer. 

They discovered that participants who ate meals prepared away from home frequently (two or more meals per day) had a 1.18-fold increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 1.67-fold increased risk of dying from cancer.

This was in comparison to individuals who ate meals cooked away from home on a regular basis (fewer than one meal per week).

Participants who consumed two or more meals per day prepared away from home faced a 1.49-fold increased risk of dying from any cause.

The team adjusted for age, gender, ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, dietary and lifestyle factors, and body mass index()BMI for all results.

“This is one of the first studies to quantify the association between eating out and mortality,” said Dr Bao. 

“Our findings, in line with previous studies, support that eating out frequently is associated with adverse health consequences and may inform future dietary guidelines to recommend reducing consumption of meals prepared away from home.

“The take-home message is that frequent consumption of meals prepared away from home may not be a healthy habit. 

“Instead, people should be encouraged to consider preparing more meals at home.”

Future research should examine the link between dining out and death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and other chronic diseases in greater detail.

It is critical to emphasise that this study evaluates links between eating meals prepared away from home and death. While promoting the idea of clients cooking nutritious meals at home.

Registered dietitians may also focus on how to make healthy restaurant menu selections, the authors write.

The findings were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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