Those who eat home-prepared meals are less likely to gain weight and develop type 2 diabetes.
Going home for one of mother’s home-cooked meals may benefit overall health instead of just emotional well-being, according to a story on usnews.com.
Harvard researchers have announced a new study that claims the risk if type 2 diabetes decreases by 2 percent each time a person eats a home-prepared lunch meal, and for each night-time dinner meal, the risk falls by 4 percent.
Why? The researchers explain that the consumption of home-prepared meals tends to lessen a gain in weight, which in turn helps to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Geng Zong, a research fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and the study’s lead author said there was a trend in the United States of eating more out-of-the-home prepared meals, and that the energy intake from those meals has risen from 10 percent in the 1960’s to over 30 percent in the period from 2005-2008.
Consequently, the time spent preparing home-cooked meals has decreased by one third, adds Zong. The number of cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes has continued to grow as well.
The researchers say the study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship with type 2 diabetes, but does note a link between the two.
The team looked at the health data from almost 58,000 women who had taken part in the Nurses’ Health Study, and at more than 41,000 men from the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study, none of which had diabetes, heart disease, or cancer when the studies began.
Participants that consumed 11 to 14 homemade meals per week were about 13 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who consumed less than six homemade meals per week. Breakfast was not included in the study due to not enough information for analysis.
Looking at the differences between home-cooked meals and outside-prepared meals, the researchers noted there was a slightly lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages in the home, which has also been associated with weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
The results don’t necessarily mean a person can’t eat out, but that when they do they need to make healthier choices. It may not totally be the food itself, but the environment as well.
Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City says he endorses less work, “slow food” (as opposed to fast-food), relaxation and conversation while dining, and wine for healthier living.