Meals at full-service restaurants have as many calories as those at fast-food outlets—and even more sodium, according to a study from the University of Illinois study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It analyzed food records collected from 18,100 adults in the U.S. between 2003 and 2010.
Eating out was associated with consumption of about 200 more calories a day, compared to eating at home—as well as an increase in sodium of 400 milligrams for full-service restaurants and 300 milligrams for fast-food.
Though consumption of certain healthful nutrients (like potassium and omega-3 fats) was actually a little higher at full-service restaurants than at home, eating out was associated with overall “poorer diet quality,” the researchers concluded.
The study’s participants consumed about one-third of their meals from fast-food restaurants and one-fifth to one-quarter of them from full-service restaurants.