Get cookin, Good Lookin!
Study finds those who frequently prepare dinner at home consume less calories
There’s no denying that being able to get food on demand is truly a great function of modern technology. Between Seamless, Grubhub, Postmates, Delivery Dudes, Door Dash, Uber Eats (the list goes on..) ordering up dinner for a night in is easier, more convenient, and efficient than ever before. But, what about good, old fashioned cooking? Ovens and stoves are not just decorative, you know. Cooking is generally a more cost-effective option than a night out or delivery, but the budget factor merely scratches the surface of the benefits of cooking for yourself. From both a physical and mental health perspective, there are many advantages to preparing your own foods at home, and research shows that included in that is that it can help you to eat less too.
A 2015 study published in the journal, Public Health Nutrition, explored the relationships between frequency cooking and quality of diet and found an association between frequency dinners cooked at home and consumption of a healthier diet. More specifically, those who prepared dinner at home more regularly (or lived in a household where someone was preparing dinner at home for them), on average, consumed less calories, fat, sugar, and fast food meals than those who had dinners cooked at home less frequently.
The study analyzed survey data of 9569 American adults aged 20 or older who submitted complete and reliable 24 hour dietary recalls. The dietary recalls determined diet quality and survey responses determined subjects’ cooking frequency (how many times in a week they, or someone in their household cooked dinner)–low (0-1 times per week), medium (2-5 times per week), or high (6-7 dinners per week). Not only did researchers find that those in the high cooking category consumed significantly less calories than those in the low category, but they consumed significantly more grams of fiber, and fewer grams of carbohydrates, fat and sugar too. Four additional factors that all point to weight loss.
The researchers also looked at how weight loss intention (whether subjects were actively trying to lose weight at time of survey or not) factored into the equation. While cooking dinner at home more frequently was associated with a healthier diet, regardless of whether one was intending to lose weight or not, that’s not to say all is lost for those uninterested in home cooked meals. The study also found that overall those who reported intending to lose weight ate healthier than those who were not actively trying, regardless of how frequently they or someone in their household cooked dinner. So, while more home cooked dinners is associated with positive weight loss factors, you can still achieve your health and weight goals even if you continue dining out and ordering in.
What does all this mean for you? Well, for one, if you don’t cook, don’t fret–just be mindful and maintain your F-Factor sensibility when ordering in or dining out. And if you do cook, keep it up! When you cook at home, the fork is literally in your hands. You have full control over what goes in to what you are eating, and its easier to stick to proper portions when preparing yourself in the comfort of your home too. Moreover, we have so many delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes for all different taste preferences and skill levels. Since this study was geared towards dinners, check out our dinner recipes here, and for all F-Factor recipes, click here.
Wolfson, J., & Bleich, S. (2015). Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? Public Health Nutrition, 18(8), 1397-1406. doi:10.1017/S1368980014001943