Eating out makes you fat. In fact, Linda Mancino, a USDA food economist says in a new study eating out just once a week packs on an average of two pounds per year. And most Americans are eating out far more than that.
A hefty half of Americans eat out more than three times a week and 12 percent eat out more than seven times per week.
Not surprisingly thanks to the crummy economy, longer commutes and tired, working mammas are what's driving the trend for families to eat more fast, cheap foods.
The poor economy isn't slowing the trend, Mancino says. "The data suggest that the recession is not making us eat out less, but we are eating out cheaper, choosing more fast-food and takeout options over restaurants with tableside service."
Eating lunch out has the largest effect, adding 158 calories to daily caloric intake, compared to lunch prepared at home. Dinner out increases intake by 144 calories, and breakfast out adds 74 calories, according to the USDA.
So how much do you eat out? Once a week? Three times a week or more? Let us know!