Eating at restaurants, at work or at home. Is there a difference? A study among adults of 11 European countries in the context of the HECTOR* project

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar;71(3):407-419. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.219. Epub 2016 Dec 14.


Background/objectives: To compare macronutrient intakes out of home-by location-to those at home and to investigate differences in total daily intakes between individuals consuming more than half of their daily energy out of home and those eating only at home.

Subjects/methods: Data collected through 24-h recalls or diaries among 23 766 European adults. Participants were grouped as 'non-substantial', 'intermediate' and 'very substantial out-of-home' eaters based on energy intake out of home. Mean macronutrient intakes were estimated at home and out of home (overall, at restaurants, at work). Study/cohort-specific mean differences in total intakes between the 'very substantial out-of-home' and the 'at-home' eaters were estimated through linear regression and pooled estimates were derived.

Results: At restaurants, men consumed 29% of their energy as fat, 15% as protein, 45% as carbohydrates and 11% as alcohol. Among women, fat contributed 33% of energy intake at restaurants, protein 16%, carbohydrates 45% and alcohol 6%. When eating at work, both sexes reported 30% of energy from fat and 55% from carbohydrates. Intakes at home were higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates and alcohol. Total daily intakes of the 'very substantial out-of-home' eaters were generally similar to those of individuals eating only at home, apart from lower carbohydrate and higher alcohol intakes among individuals eating at restaurants.

Conclusions: In a large population of adults from 11 European countries, eating at work was generally similar to eating at home. Alcoholic drinks were the primary contributors of higher daily energy intakes among individuals eating substantially at restaurants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Diet
  • Diet Records
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Eating*
  • Energy Intake
  • Europe
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Restaurants*
  • Sex Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins