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Time, an essential ingredient for a healthy diet: study

Posted:  Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In today’s times when fast food or 2-minute noodles or ready-to-eat foods offer convenient meals, finding time to fix up a healthy meal may not always be a priority. However, if a recent research is to be considered, time is an essential element to a healthy diet. Researchers from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine found that spending less than an hour a day preparing food at home is associated with increased fast food consumption and spending more money eating out.

The researchers drew out these findings from the telephonic responses of 1,319 adults who were part of the Seattle Obesity Study in 2008 and 2009. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

As a part of the study, participants were quizzed regarding the average time spent a day preparing and cooking food and cleaning up after meals. They were also quizzed on food consumption and expenditure, and the use of restaurants.

The researchers found that nearly 16% of the participants said they spent less than one hour a day on meal preparation, whereas 43% reported spending one to two hours per day on it. Only 41% said they put in more than two hours a day on meal preparation. Nearly two-thirds of those who reported preparing and cooking food and cleaning up were women, and employment outside home was the main reason for the time crunch. Due to the lack of time, people seemed to value convenience, choosing ready-to-eat foods or fast foods or eating out more often.

Lack of time is a commonly reported barrier to healthy eating, propelling people towards compromised dietary habits. As a solution, one can consult a qualified dietician to chalk out a nutrition plan keeping the time factor in mind. All it needs is little planning and preparation.

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