The old adage is that nothing beats a home-cooked meal, but as the bevy of food delivery options continues to expand, mom is facing stiffer competition. But cooking at home is still better for you, right? Well, now even that assertion is being challenged, with Shape Magazine contending that ordering in might actually be helping people to lose weight.
Shape’s first point is that delivery options are more diverse and potentially healthier than they used to be. “When I was a kid, you could order pizza and Chinese and that was it,” said real estate broker (and apparently article-worthy food delivery user) Candice Pennefather. She admits experimenting with delivery has expanded her horizons into new healthy foods, also stating, “I didn’t know what farro was until a delivered recipe showed me how to use it.”
Second, recent research also suggests that cooking at home isn’t necessarily the panacea it purports to be. Cooking often means you have more food on hand to eat (often in larger family-size portions) or are making something you can’t wait to indulge in. “We assumed cooking at home would be healthier,” says Brad Appelhans, an associate professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who co-authored a study on the subject. “That’s not necessarily the case, however. When you’re making fabulous gourmet dishes from scratch, you may be tempted to eat more.”
Another oddly logical argument: A study at Ohio State University found that people who cook their own food often exercise less because they have less time in their day. “We have approximately 45 minutes a day for these healthy behaviors, which means we don’t have time to exercise and cook. We can do one or the other, but not both,” said study author Rachel Tumin.
Of course, the benefits of online ordering assume you’re going to use your food delivery powers for good instead of evil. We reported on a study just earlier this month that people eat more calories when they place orders online. And who hasn’t ordered some extra spring rolls just to hit a delivery minimum and then gorged on them anyway? (Hopefully that’s not just me.)