A new study shows that eating out can lead to higher blood pressure. Researchers from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore surveyed 501 adults between the ages of 18 and 40. They collected data on the adults' blood pressure, body mass index, and lifestyle — including how much they work out and how often they eat meals from restaurants.
Researchers found that of the 501 participants, nearly 28 percent of them had pre-hypertension, or "slightly elevated blood pressure" levels. Those with pre-hypertension are at a "very high risk" for hypertension which is "the leading risk factor for death associated with cardiovascular disease." Of the 28 percent that had pre-hypertension, 38 percent ate more than 12 meals from restaurants per week.
Researchers also found a staggering difference between genders: Of the men that participated, 49 percent had pre-hypertension, while only nine percent of women did. Overall, the study showed that those who had pre-hypertension and hypertension "were more likely to eat more meals away from the home." Shockingly, researchers found that even eating one meal out raised a person's odds of developing pre-hypertension by six percent.
Meals out at fast food restaurants are especially dangerous. In 2012, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that people who ate a 1,000 calorie meal from well-known fast food chains each day quickly gained upwards of 5 percent of their body weight in three months or less.