Eating food prepared at home rather than meals bought from a supermarket or restaurant may help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, scientists have found.
People who ate about two homemade lunches or dinners each day, about 11 to 14 meals a week, had a 13% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people who ate less than six homemade lunches or dinners a week.
The research team, which presented the findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Session, used data from 58,000 women and 41,000 men from the Nurses’ Health Study from 1986 to 2012. None of the participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the study and the researchers didn’t have enough information to include breakfasts.
“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 Geng Zong, a research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
He pointed out that accumulating studies have suggested that eating out, especially in fast food chain restaurants, is associated with lower diet quality and higher body weight in children and young adults.
In the current study, the researchers demonstrated that eating homemade meals was associated with less weight gain over eight years in these middle-aged and older health professionals. Overweight and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
While the research did not conclude that there was a specific number of homemade meals people should eat each week, Zong said more could be better.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.