WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Home-cooked meals make us healthier than eating out and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, said a U.S. study Sunday.
Those who ate 11 to 14 lunches or dinners a week -- or about two homemade meals each day -- had a 13 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate less than six homemade lunches or dinners a week, according to the study presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.
The researchers did not have enough information to include breakfasts in their analysis.
The findings were based on data from nearly 58,000 women who took part in a national nurse health study and more than 41,000 men in another study of male health professionals followed for up to 36 years.
None of the participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the study.
"The trend for eating commercially prepared meals in restaurants or as take-out in the United States has increased significantly over the last 50 years," study author Geng Zong, a research fellow at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement.
At the same time, he said, the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes has also increased.
Accumulating studies have suggested that eating out, especially in fast food chain restaurants, is associated with lower diet quality and higher body weight in children and young adults.
In the current study, the researchers demonstrated that eating homemade meals was associated with less weight gain over eight years in these middle-aged and older health professionals.
While researchers don't provide a specific number of homemade meals people should eat each week, Zong said "more could be better."