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The Science About Eating Out That Will Scare You Into Cooking Your Own Dinners

A new study links restaurant meals with higher levels of plastic-based chemicals in the body.

Americans are increasingly putting their money where their mouth is—and eating out more than ever before. Back in 1970, Americans only spent 26 percent of all their food expenses at restaurants or cafeterias. In 2014, that number rose to 44 percent. Today, about half of the country reportedly “hates” cooking and more than half of total US food dollars is spent at restaurants, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Now, a new study published Wednesday in the journal Environment International suggests that Americans’ habit of eating out could be costing us more than a portion of our paychecks. It turns out, eating outside the home—at restaurants, fast-food joints, and cafeterias, including delivery and take-out—is correlated with higher body levels of phthalates, a ubiquitous class of chemicals linked to all sorts of ailments including reduced semen qualitydiabeteslower IQ, and cancer.

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