Examination of popular meals in full service and fast food restaurants in five countries reveals large number of highly caloric options, possible contributor to global obesity.
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of full service meals and 72 percent of fast food meals studied in five countries contained 600 calories or more.
The study also found that meals from fast food restaurants contained 33 percent fewer calories than meals from full service restaurants, suggesting fast food restaurants should not be singled out when exploring ways to address overeating and the global obesity epidemic. The study was published today in The BMJ.
“Fast food has been widely cited as an easy target for diet change because of its high calorie content; however, previous work by our team in the U.S. identified restaurant meals in general as an important target for interventions to address obesity,” said first and co-corresponding author Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., senior scientist and director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “Eating out is now common around the world, but it is important to keep in mind that it is easy to overeat when a large restaurant meal is likely to be only one of several meals and snacks consumed that day.”
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