New data presented by the American Heart Association suggests that people who eat homemade meals at least twice a day, or about 11-14 homemade meals per week, show a 13 percent lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes in comparison to people who ate fewer than six homemade meals a week. These results were based on information gathered about lunch and dinner eating patterns. How breakfast figures into this remains to be seen. The study was designed so that none of the participants had type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer when the research began.
The study was conducted in the context of modern eating trends which have seen a large rise in the consumption of commercially prepared meals in the past 50 years. Scientists involved in the study were curious if this increase in Americans eating out could be associated with a simultaneous rise in type 2 diabetes. This consideration is supported by past studies which show that as Americans dine out more frequently, especially at fast food restaurants, there is a directly related increase in poor nutritional intake and higher body weight gains for children and young adults.
The current study noted that for middle-aged and older people who ate the majority of their meals prepared at home, there was a lower incidence of weight gain. This observation is significant when investigating diabetes because weight gain has a high correlation with type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease.
Dining at restaurants is bad news in terms of weight gain and thus the risk of developing diabetes rises. The most notable sources of danger are fast food chains which typically serve poor quality food from a nutritional perspective.
One could say that fast food chains are only giving people what they want: High amounts of sugar and fat which taste great to our taste buds. The problem is the age old disconnect between flavor and what’s good for us. Though a cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake deliver the flavors, fat, and sugar our bodies find so pleasurable, the fact is that it overloads our biochemistry with levels of these substances that we did not evolve to process. When overconsumption of sugar and fat overwhelms the body’s ability to metabolize them properly, diabetes is the result.
Eating at home puts the control over ingredients in our own hands. Not many people would knowingly add the levels of fat and sugar to their food that is commonly practiced at restaurants, and that is why homecooking is healthier.
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