Eating At Home Improves Overall Health
It’s been part of common wisdom for centuries: there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal. It tastes good and it’s made with love. It’s also the key to overall health, according to a new research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
As it turns out, there’s no place like home when it comes to eating healthy. Analysis of four years’ worth of consumer data found that people who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who don’t cook as often. The data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey asked detailed questions about diet and nutrition from more than 9,000 participants. Questions included what they had eaten in a 24-hour period and how often they ate fast food in the past 30 days.
When people cook more meals at home, the Johns Hopkins study showed, they eat fewer carbohydrates, fat, and sugar. Those who cooked dinner at home the most – 6 or 7 times per week – even ate less on the rare occasion they went to a restaurant than their frequent dine-out counterparts. The respondents in this group, which comprised 48 percent of survey participants, were less likely to rely on frozen and fast food for meals. Those who cooked at home one night per week or less – about 8 percent of respondents – consumed, on average, 137 more calories per day.
There are many reasons why some people choose to eat out rather than cook at home. One obvious factor is the time involved in preparing a home-cooked meal. Those who worked 35 hours per week or more outside the home were less likely to cook, presumably due to limited time at home. Another is cost – eating a fast-food dinner from the McDonald’s dollar menu is more affordable and convenient for many than going to the grocery store to buy ingredients.
The authors of the study stated that the results of the study show how eating out can contribute to food-related health problems such as obesity. The study can be used as an example to highlight the importance of cooking at home and make healthier food choices when eating out. It points to a need for resources that can help those who cook infrequently gain skills and knowledge on how to make a well-balance, home-made meal. Even just one home-cooked meal per week may be beneficial to improving overall health.