Large doses of fast food and traditional restaurants are contributing to global 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% of restaurant menus with table service and waiters and 72% of fast food menus in five countries on different continents had 600 or more calories.
In addition, contrary to popular belief, they found that foods of fast food restaurants contained 33% fewer calories than traditional ones, therefore, they thought that fast food establishments should not focus attention when treating overfeeding and the global epidemic of obesity.
"Fast food has been widely cited as an easy target for dietary change because of its high calorie content, but our teamwork in the United States has identified meals in restaurants as an important goal of interventions for obesity," says co-author of the study, Tufts University (Boston, B) Susan Roberts.
Eating out "is now common all over the world," but it is important to "remember" that it is easy to overeat when a meal in a large restaurant is only one of those that occur at the end of the day, "he says.
To reach these conclusions, the study studied the caloric content of the menus often ordered in randomly selected fast-food places in Brazil, China, Finland, Ghana and India and five canteens in Finland where these shared dining rooms were compared with data extracted from restaurants in the United States.
According to the study, in China alone, calories from these meals were lower than in the United States, 719 compared to 1088.
In general, fast food was less calories than those of a restaurant with a table service, 809 compared to 1,317 per serving.
For its part, Canadian food and Finnish dishes was 25% less calories per serving than two other types of restaurants, 880 compared to 1,166.
Identifying factors that can lead to overeating, including dietary practices and environmental factors, can help develop effective interventions against obesity, according to this study.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity has nearly tripled in the last four decades.