We spend less time in the kitchen than ever before. This might be because there are five fast food restaurants for every one supermarket in the US, as illustrated by the below infographic from YES! Magazine.

The article “Reclaiming the Joy of Real Food” by Arun Gupta, which appeared in the latest issue of YES! Magazine, points out that “19% of us east fast food several times a week, and 80% eat it once a month or more. The food we eat at home is a mostly a matter of heating up food from a factory.” 

Gupta asks why—if industrial food has been shown to be full of toxins, lacking nutrition, and designed to be as addictive as crack—do we keep eating junk instead of home-cooked meals?

The answer does not actually involve time or money, argues Gupta, but pure pleasure. He writes,

“The food industry spend billions a year on gleaming research centers staffed with white-coated scientists who concoct foods that electrify our brains like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Their tricks range from the simple—add bacon and cheese to everything—to the sophisticated.”

So, what’s the real problem with all this eating out? Just that cooking could be an important solution to our public health crisis.

That’s right—a recent Cambridge University study of 1,888 people found that those who cook up to five times a week were 47% more likely to still be alive after 10 years.

Not to mention, as Gupta astutely puts it, “Breaking bread with others is part of what it means to be human, and the act is wrapped up in emotional well-being, especially love.”

whycook[via YES! Magazine]