Takeaway and Delivery Meals Make You Fat, Start Cooking Your Own Food

In this modern era, it’s easier for people to order anything, including food. They only need a smartphone and internet connection and everything they want can be delivered right in front of their house. Moreover, in this global era, people want something faster and more simple. That’s why many people prefer takeaway or using food delivery services to save time.

However, the habit of eating takeaway and delivery meals give a contribution to obesity global burden. In the United Kingdom, around 33% of adults were living with obesity. It is predicted that the prevalence of obesity will increase up to 35% in 2025.

A recent study from UK showed that consumption of takeaway and/or delivery meals was associated with higher BMI and percent body fat in both sexes. Individuals with high body mass index (BMI) often eat delivery and takeaway meals, while those with low BMI and percent body fat usually consume home-cooked meals.

There were 5,197 participants in this study, with 2,841 women and 2356 men. This study examined the association between consumption of different types of meals and BMI or percent body fat.

The researchers used data from the UK Biobank in response to a “Type of Meals Eaten” survey, which specified the sources of the meals consumed over the previous 24 h. They analyzed data with meal choice as the dependent variable first and then BMI as the dependent variable second due to the unknown direction of causality.

BMI and percent body fat were higher in individuals reporting consumption of takeaway and delivery foods the previous day.

Dine-in was also associated with higher BMI and percent body fat among men, but not women. Men and women who have higher BMI consume homecooked meals less. A previous study also reported that people who often had their meals at dine-in restaurants were more likely to be overweight or obese.

The researchers said this could happen because people who consumed takeaway meals had on average higher daily energy intake in comparison with people who rarely consume this type of meals and were more likely to have obesity or be overweight.

In contrast, people who consume homecooked and home-prepared meals have normal BI and normal percent body fat. Moreover, it was noticed that people who consume homecooked meals >5 times a week were 28% less likely to be overweight and 24% less likely to have excess percent body fat.

“Our investigation supports the widespread suggestion that eating homecooked and prepared meals was less likely to be linked with obesity,” the researchers said. “If the associations are causal, then delivery and takeaway foods may present a suitable target for intervention studies to reduce obesity.”

Takeaway food tend to make people fat because it is usually high in fat and salt, to stimulate appetite, making appetite, making them an attractive combo for food manufacturers — and low in vitamins and minerals.

The reason how consumption of home cooked meals can give dietary benefits could be attributable to healthier food preparation methods, increased dietary variety and/or consumption of healthier food groups. It may also be due to decreased intake of convenience foods, which tend to priorities ingredients such as fat, sugar and salt to increase palatability and preservation, over those for optimizing health.


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Isabella Soerjanto MD
Isabella Soerjanto MD
Isabella is a medical doctor, living in Bali, Indonesia. She is an empathetic and compassionate general practitioner with a lively and energetic character. She is eager to put all of her knowledge and skills to use and be of service to patients and the hospital. She is passionate about writing, medical humanities & education, and adventures.
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