Fast Food May Be Healthier Than Food at Sit-Down Restaurants, Study Claims

Dining at sit-down restaurants may increase a person’s daily intake of sodium and cholesterol

If you want to eat healthier, your best option is to cook at home.

If you think sit-down restaurant food is healthier than fast food options, a new study may shock you.

According to research by the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, eating fast food may be healthier, on average, than dining at a sit-down restaurant

The study, published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at data from more than 18,000 adults that followed their eating habits from 2003 to 2010.

Findings revealed that a meal at a sit-down restaurant tended to contain more sodium and cholesterol than a meal at a fast food restaurant. Restaurant meals added an extra 58 milligrams of cholesterol to a person’s daily intake, while fast food only added 10 milligrams. Restaurants tacked on 412 milligrams of sodium to a person’s daily intake, while fast food only added 297 milligrams.

Julie Soefer

Calories and fat were added to a person’s daily intake at roughly the same rate in both fast food chains and sit-down restaurants. The average meal for both adds nearly 190 calories and roughly 10 grams of fat to daily intake. 

Simply eating in a restaurant may increase your intake of calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. The study concludes that this may be attributable to people viewing eating out as a “social event,” making them more susceptible to overeating.


The study concludes people should be aware that all dining-out behavior might be counterproductive when trying to eat healthier. So in other words, if you want to eat healthier, cook more at home.