There's one really big burning question that comes with life. No, not "Why are we here?"(though I wouldn't mind the answer to that one, too). It's: How can we lose weight and save money at the same time, in a way that's not incredibly torturous?
So you'll be glad to hear that the NY Post reports researchers have put their scientific heads together and finally come up with an answer: Stop eating out. No really, it's that simple.
The study, carried out by researchers at Penn State university, asked a number of participants to estimate how much they thought they'd spend on eating out at the start of a two-week period. Halfway through, they asked them how the budget was going, and the average participant upped this budget by more than three times; from $18 (P895) to $55 (P2,736).
Explaining what pattern of behavior this shows, associate professor of hospitality management and director of Penn State's Food Decisions Research Laboratory (yes that's a real thing) Amit Sharma said: "What this tells us is that obviously they thought they would spend less in a week, but as the week progressed they realised they were spending a lot more and they rationalised that increase."
Essentially, we spend a hell of a lot more on eating out than we think we do.
And as the NY Post points out, another study indicates this behavioral pattern is having more of an impact than just denting our bank balances: It's increasing our waistlines, too.
A research study carried out on over 12,500 Americans, which was published by Public Health Nutrition back in 2015, revealed the average person eats 200 more calories when they dine out than if they were to cook at home. Which isn't particularly surprising, seeing as there's a reason restaurant food tastes so much better than home-cooked food: all the extra butter and salt and tasty but unhealthy things used in kitchens by professional chefs.
So it's simple. If you want to lose a few pounds while saving a few pounds, just stop your dining out habit.