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Cooking Your Own Meals can Reduce Risk of Diabetes, Study Finds

Update Date: Nov 09, 2015 10:44 AM EST

If you want to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, you are better off cooking your own meals.

"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," researcher Geng Zong, from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said reported by TIME. Zong explained that for this study, they wanted to see if the effects of eating out were the same for adults.

In the study, the team examined data taken from the Nurses Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The study involved more than 99,000 adults who provided information on their lunch and dinner habits for over 30 years.

Based from these self reports and medical tests, researchers found that adults who stated that they ate two homemade meals per day had a 13 percent lower risk of developing diabetes when compared to adults who reported eating fewer than six home-cooked meals per week.

The researchers added that for each lunch that a person cooked per week, risk of diabetes fell by two percent. For dinner, the diabetes risk fell by four percent per dinner cooked at home.

The researchers noted that one of the major factors that reduced people's risk was the amount of calories they consumed. Since homemade meals are generally healthier, people who ate at home also gained fewer pounds than people who ate out a lot. The team also reasoned that when people eat out, they are more likely to consume sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, which can increase their risk of diabetes.

"We tried to analyze differences in the diet of these people and found, among other differences, that there was a slightly lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages when people had more homemade meals, which is another bridge linking homemade meals and diabetes in this study," Zong said reported by HealthDay via U.S. News & World Report. "We need more studies to demonstrate whether preparing meals at home may prevent risk of diabetes and obesity, and how,"

The researchers concluded that people should try their hardest to cook at home. Zong added that if people simply do not have the time to cook, they should at least "try not to choose fast food."

Zong cautioned that overconsumption, regardless of whether or not the food was home-cooked, can still be bad.

"If your mom is really good at cooking like mine, you need to be careful to balance your energy intake," he stated. "Keeping a balance between food intake and physical activity remains essential for maintaining body weight and health."

The study was presented at the American Heart Association meeting held in Orlando, Florida.

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