Large rations at fast food establishments and traditional restaurants are a contributing factor to overall obesity because of the calories they provide, according to a study published today in the British Medical Journal. BMJ).
In their study, an international team of researchers found that 94 percent of menus in table service restaurants and waiters and 72 percent of fast food menus in five countries on different continents had 600 calories or more.
In addition, contrary to popular belief, they found that fast food restaurants contained 33% fewer calories than traditional ones and therefore felt that fast food outlets should not focus. Caution when addressing overeating and the epidemic obesity.
"Fast food has been widely cited as an easy target for dietary change because of its high calorie content; however, our team's work in the United States has identified meals in general restaurants as an important goal of interventions to address the obesity, "says one of the co-authors of the study, Tufts University (Boston, USA) Susan B. Roberts.
Eating out "is now common all over the world," but it's important to "keep in mind that it's easy to overeat when a big meal in the restaurant is just one that happens at the end of the day," he says.
To reach these conclusions, the study measured the caloric content of the most frequently ordered menu items at randomly selected fast food locations in Brazil, China, Finland, Ghana and India, and five canteens in workplaces in Finland, where these dining rooms are common and compared with data extracted from restaurants in the United States.
Research revealed that in China alone the calories of these meals were lower than in the United States, 719 compared to 1088.
In general, fast foods had fewer calories than a table service restaurant, 809 versus 1,317 per serving.
In turn, food from the Finnish canteens analyzed had 25% fewer calories per dish than the other two types of restaurants, 880 compared to 1,166.
Identifying the factors that can lead to overeating, including dietary practices and environmental factors, may help develop effective interventions against obesity, according to this study.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity has almost tripled in the last four decades.