By Dr. Ann Kulze
There is widespread scientific consensus that dining out increases the risk of eating excess calories. Well-conducted studies confirm it. According to a comprehensive evaluation by U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, here is what you can expect in terms of extra calories when you choose to eat away from home:
• Each additional meal or snack consumed outside the home delivers an average of 134 extra calories versus the same meals or snacks prepared at home. (Keep in mind that if you did this just once a day with no increase in exercise, over the course of one year you would gain 15 pounds.)
• For the average adult, eating out for lunch has the greatest impact, boosting daily calories by 158. Having dinner away from home adds an additional 144 calories; breakfast 74 calories; and snacks 100 calories.
• Overweight people are at the greatest risk of consuming extra calories when eating away from home. For a person with a body mass index (BMI) in the obese range (greater than or equal to 30), dining out adds 239 daily calories.
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