Sit Down Restaurants Can be Just as Bad as Fast Food

Think you’re cutting calories by avoiding fast food and eating a sit-down dinner? Not so fast.
According to recent research, people eat more salt and cholesterol in sit-down settings than fastfood restaurants.
While fast food is certainly not a healthy option, people should be careful not to assume sit-downs are much better.

Sit-Down & FastFood Restaurants Tied in Terms of Health

About the Study

The research, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, comes out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Researchers examined data collected from 2003 to 2010 in the US National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey. 18,100 Americans were asked to describe the meals consumed in the past 24 hours.

Fast Food Prevalence

According to the data, around 1/3 of the individuals surveyed indicated they had eaten fast food in that period, while 1/5 to 1/4 said they ate at a sit-down or full-service restaurant.

Calories & Total Fat ConsumedFast Food

Individuals that frequent fastfood restaurants and those that frequent full-service restaurants eat around the same number of extra calories (around 200) and total fat (10 grams) on average vs. individuals who cook meals at home.


Food from full-service restaurants ranked the worst in terms of cholesterol — on average, totaling 58 milligrams (mg) of excess cholesterol a day vs. home-cooked food. This is higher than fast food, which only contains an 10 mgs of excess cholesterol. High cholesterol jeopardizes heart health.

Excess Sodium

Full-service restaurant meals also had 412 mgs of extra sodium each day vs. home-cooked food, while fast food ranked at 300 extra mgs. Since excess sodium can increase heart disease risk and lead to high blood pressure, the extra sodium should be a concern.

See How Your Diet Impacts Your Health

Whether you are a fast food fiend, a sit-down restaurant addict, or more of the home cook type, you should regularly monitor your health. Test Smartly Labs nationwide enable individuals to track basic health information such as your cholesterol, heart health, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and more. You can see how your diet is impacting your health and then make the appropriate adjustments. Our service is always affordable and convenient.

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