Eating out is not a major contributory factor to Western consumers' expanding waistlines, according to research from foodservice analysts Horizon.
Although eating and drinking outside the home does provide more calories per mouthful than eating at home - due to the typically higher sugar content - the myth of how often the nation eats out a week is overblown.
Horizon said despite out of home eating being widely condemned as a root cause of obesity, especially amongst children, 92% of what we consume a week comes from the home.
Peter Backman, director, Horizon, said: "Despite the fact we are eating out more than we used to as a nation, eating out remains a treat for most of us. Only in extreme cases do people get the majority of their calories from eating out."
Backman rubbished a recent Office for National Statistic report suggesting spending on out of home eating had overtaken eating at home, describing its conclusion as flawed.
Horizon has produced a free five-page report called Obesity, Healthy Eating and Nutrition available at its website.
By Chris Druce