Researchers say that homemade meals are healthy and lack the ingredients used in food outside which cause obesity and other risk factors causing diabetes.
It was recorded that nearly 30 million Americans, or 9% of the population, have diabetes. The majority of these cases involve Type 2 diabetes, which develops in the body when it can no longer handle excess sugar in the diet.
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A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health covers over three decades. The researchers analysed the records of approximately 58,000 women (Nurses' Health Study) and 41,000 men (Health Professionals Follow-up Study) who didn't have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer prior to the study.
The participants were followed-up for almost 26 years from 1986 to 2012. Researchers found that participants who had 11 to 14 home cooked meals (lunch or dinner) in a week lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 13 percent compared to participants who ate six home cooked meals or less.
The findings focused on lunch and dinner, the researchers didn't have enough data to include a breakfast meal routine in their study, which is a major contributing factor to the development of heart disease.
Dr. Geng Zong from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said that the trend for eating commercially prepared meals in restaurants or as take-out in the United States has increased significantly over the last 50 years. At the same time, Type 2 diabetes rates have also increased.
"The trend for eating commercially prepared meals in restaurants or as take-out in the United States has increased significantly over the last 50 years. At the same time, Type 2 diabetes rates have also increased," said Dr. Geng Zong.
Cooking meals at home, says Zong, avoids many of the processed ingredients and unhealthy fats that restaurants and fast-food chains rely on so heavily. The findings suggest that preparing more meals at home may be a first step in lowering the risk of diabetes, and if home cooking isn’t always possible, "try not to choose fast food," he added.
“We know that eating out is associated with lower diet quality and higher obesity in young adolescents, as well as insulin resistance and high triglyceride levels,” Geng Zong said.
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A huge amount of evidence from studies revealed the links between eating out in fast food chains and increased body weight and poorer diet quality in young adults and children. Home cooked meals contain less processed ingredients and unhealthy fats compared to their convenient, fast food counterparts.