Nothing beats a home-cooked meal and new research has found good reasons to prioritize cooking at home: eating more homemade meals may lessen weight gain and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. A new study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2015 looked at data from nearly 58,000 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study and more than 41,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. At the start of these two studies, none of the participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. Researchers followed the participants for up to 36 years tracking their eating habits, weight gain, and whether or not they developed diabetes. Here is what they found:
People who ate between 11 to 14 homemade lunches or dinners per week—that's an average of about 2 homemade meals per day—had a 13% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to people who ate fewer than 6 homemade lunches or dinners per week. Breakfast patterns were not included in this study.
Eating more meals at home was also associated with less weight gain.
It’s possible that gaining less weight may have helped protect the people who ate more homemade meals, since being overweight or obese is known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Research exploring what makes home-cooked foods healthier will help build upon these findings and confirm the importance of eating homemade meals. Although these results don’t tell us exactly how many homemade meals people should eat each week to avoid diabetes, the lead researcher did state, “more could be better.”
Source: American Heart Association