Would You Stop Eating Out to Lose Weight?

A study reveals that you don’t have to

Philadelphia, PA, January 10, 2012 – Going out to eat has become a major part of our culture. Frequently eating out and consuming high-calorie foods in large portions at restaurants can contribute to excess calorie intake and weight gain. However, a study in the January/February 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior demonstrates that individuals can eat out and still lose weight.

Investigators from The University of Texas at Austin enrolled 35 healthy, perimenopausal women aged 40 to 59 years who eat out frequently. Participants took part in a 6-week program called Mindful Restaurant Eating, a weight-gain prevention intervention that helps develop the skills needed to reduce caloric and fat intake when eating out. The focus of the program was on preventing weight gain in this population, not weight loss. It is important to prevent weight gain in this population as increasing abdominal waist circumference from weight gain is greater during the perimenopausal years, which in turn increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Even though the focus was on weight maintenance, the researchers found that participants in the intervention group lost significantly more weight, had lower average daily caloric and fat intake, had increased diet related self-efficacy, and had fewer barriers to weight management when eating out.

Dr. Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN, the principal investigator of this study states, “Although the intention of the intervention was weight maintenance and the majority of participants were not dieting with the intent to lose weight at the start of the study (69%), on average the intervention group lost 1.7 kg during 6 weeks. The number of times that participants ate out, as captured in the 3-day 24-hour recalls, did not significantly decrease from time 1 to time 2, indicating that participants were able to successfully manage their weight while continuing their usual, frequent eating-out patterns. Overall, the participants in the intervention group reduced their daily caloric intake by about 297 calories after completing the intervention, which would explain their weight loss. Only part of the calorie reduction (about 124 calories) can be accounted for during eating out, indicating that fewer calories were also consumed at home.”

“Based on what we learned from this study, for those individuals who eat out frequently, developing the skills needed to eat out without gaining weight from the excess calories typically consumed at restaurants may be essential to long-term health,” Dr. Timmerman concludes.

This study addresses the importance of developing creative solutions in preventing weight gain; developing restaurant eating skills to manage intake in the high risk restaurant food environment may be one of those solutions.

The article is “The Effect of a Mindful Restaurant Eating Intervention on Weight Management in Women,” by Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN and Adama Brown, PhD. It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 44, Issue 1 (January/February 2012) published by Elsevier.

In an accompanying podcast, Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN, discusses the results and implications of this study. It is available at www.jneb.org/content/podcast.

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Notes for editors
Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Francesca Costanzo at +1 215 239 3249or jnebmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors, please contact Dr. Gayle M. Timmerman by email at gtimmerman@mail.utexas.edu or by phone at +1 512 471 9087. 

An audio podcast featuring an interview with Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN (under embargo until January 10) and information specifically for journalists are located at www.jneb.org/content/mediapodcast. Excerpts from the podcast may be reproduced by the media; contact Francesca Costanzo to obtain permission.

About the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior ( www.jneb.org)
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society’s efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public.

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications.


About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence,and ClinicalKey—and publishes over 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

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Media contact
Francesca Costanzo
Elsevier
+1 215 239 3249
jnedmedia@elsevier.com