Are Food Delivery Apps Changing Your Eating Habits for the Worse?

It’s never been easier to access whatever food it is that you’re craving at pretty much any given time thanks to the bevy of on-demand food delivery apps and services available right at our fingertips, but what impact are they having on our health?

It’s never been easier to access whatever food it is that you’re craving at pretty much any given time thanks to the bevy of on-demand food delivery apps and services available right at our fingertips. These apps are downloaded right to your smartphone and can be accessed from most places around the U.S. and the rest of the world, making ordering food simple and convenient both for the customer and the local businesses.

While restaurants delivering food to a customer’s residence isn’t anything new, the concept of food delivery apps is quite different from standard restaurant deliveries like delivery drivers who work at pizza restaurants in that they are individuals who are hired by the app company rather than a specific restaurant, explains Lisa Richards, C.N.C., nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet.

Uber Eats, Doordash, GrubHub and Seamless are just a handful of the food delivery services that are popular today. While many of them were launched close to a decade ago, they rose to popularity during the pandemic, when many consumers were looking for ways to avoid leaving their home. And even as restrictions in most states have lifted as a result of a decline in cases, these delivery apps continue to remain a popular choice for accessing food. “Perhaps we as a society have determined that it is easier to send out for our food rather than picking it up ourselves and the pros outweigh the cons of a slightly higher price,” says Richards.

Food delivery apps come in handy in many ways. “They eliminate the need to leave your home, drive in traffic, and even get dressed in many cases, which is especially convenient on cold days or bad weather when you’d rather stay home and have your food brought to you,” explains Richards. “There are often no time restraints, so orders can be placed as long as the restaurant is open and each restaurant’s menu is available to see and easily read without feeling rushed or being bothered with advertisements.”

On the flip side, however, food delivery apps have shifted the way in which we eat—and not always for the better. Here’s a look at some of the drawbacks to food delivery apps.

It can be hard to maintain proper nutrition

With food delivery apps, it can be hard to find dishes that are well-balanced nutritionally. “When the world of food is at your fingertips, it’s much easier to just order what ‘looks good’ rather than what is good for you, which can be negative to your health because you’re not getting quality food and are also getting much more unhealthy table salt, unhealthy fats and sugar into your diet,” explains functional nutritional therapy practitioner Tansy Rodgers, F.N.T.P. She recommends choosing local restaurants that are healthy options or choose a food delivery service that has clean, high quality ingredients in their meals.

You become disconnected to your food

Unlike grocery shopping which gives you the opportunity to select your foods, cook them and set intentions for your meals, Rodgers points out that food delivery apps disconnect you from your food. “Constantly ordering and having someone else prepare your food for you can take that connection out and set you up for unhealthy habits such as binging on food cravings, not paying attention to what your body needs (intuitive eating), and seeing eating as more of a chore rather than something you want to do,” she says. “It also sets you up for giving into all your cravings and ‘indulgence meals’ whenever and wherever you want.”

It’s easier to consume more calories

While you don’t necessarily need to count calories in order to make sure you stay within the right limits for your body, restaurant-ordered meals tend to contain hidden amounts of calories that can add up quickly. “Not being consciously aware of how many delivery meals you are eating a week and how healthy they actually are can set you up for health issues down the road,” says Rodgers. “Obesity has been linked to body inflammation and fatigue, but also to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.”

It can be expensive

With the convenience of food delivery apps, it can become an easy habit of ordering out food repeatedly, which can be quite costly, explains Michelle Routhenstein, R.D., owner of Entirely Nourished. “I had a client who hired a financial planner to look at his expenses and he was shocked to find out that he had ordered 270 orders from Seamless!” she says. “A way to help with this is to plan your meals for the week to know your expectations, and write down when you plan to use Seamless or DoorDash so you are conscious of the decision.”

Bottom line: While it’s certainly OK to utilize food delivery apps, try to make it a once or twice weekly occurrence so you don’t compromise your health, nutrition or cooking habits.



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