The Most Dangerous Days to Eat Out — and Why

The Most Dangerous Days to Eat Out  — and Why

  • Restaurants are known for cutting corners, like using cheaper canola oil rather than high-quality olive oil.
  • Eating out on certain days could actually be bad for your health — you may be eating old food that contains performance-robbing toxins.
  • The main culprits are mold toxins and biogenic amines. Discover why they’re harmful and how to avoid them.

I like eating at restaurants as much as the next person. It saves you time and energy, and it’s convenient. But depending on where you go, eating out isn’t doing your health any favors. Here’s why: Restaurants are known for cutting corners. They might use cheaper canola oil rather than high-quality olive oil, and the majority definitely aren’t using organic vegetables and grass-fed meat. I own a successful restaurant in Los Angeles — The Bulletproof Cafe — so I know firsthand the struggles of turning a profit in the food industry.

Worse, eating out on certain days could actually be bad for your health. Most restaurants have fresh food delivered during the week, but not on the weekends. Food companies don’t deliver then, so the food you’re eating on a Sunday and Monday was delivered on Friday. That means you’re eating 2- to 3-day-old food. That’s why Sundays and Mondays are the worst days to eat out (and why some restaurants actually close on Mondays).

Besides being kind of gross and a ripoff (who wants to pay for food that isn’t fresh?), eating old food means certain performance-robbing toxins have had time to build up. The main culprits are:

Mycotoxins (aka “mold toxins”)

When food sits around, it develops mold, and mold creates toxins that trigger chronic inflammation in your body. That’s not all — some mycotoxins, like aflatoxin, are carcinogenic, while others damage your brain. Read more here about the risks of mold toxins. Common restaurant foods like cheese, grains, and bread are especially prone to mold. Most supermarket bread, for example, starts developing mold within 48 hours. Fresh-baked loaves delivered to restaurants don’t contain shelf-stabilizing ingredients or preservatives — which is better for you, as long as you’re eating it fresh.

If you’re feeling fatigued, anxious, or moody, mold might be to blame. Learn more here about the symptoms of mold exposure, and the ways to beat toxic mold exposure in your daily life.

Biogenic amines

These are a type of neurotransmitter (aka chemical messenger) that develop in old food. The most well-known biogenic amine is histamine, which plays a role in seasonal allergies. When your body produces histamine, it keeps it within certain limits. What you might not know is that certain foods contain histamine. When food is kept too long, bacteria starts to degrade it, forming histamine. Protein is especially vulnerable, whether it’s protein from fish, pork, cheese, seeds, or vegetables. So if you’re thinking of hitting up your favorite sushi joint, go on the day it’s delivered.

Eating small amounts of histamine is not a big deal, but it can start to accumulate in your bloodstream if your body doesn’t manage to detoxify it, or if your gut bacteria is out of balance. Your body goes on the attack, and releases adrenaline to try get rid of the excess histamine, which over time causes inflammation and headaches.

Higher histamine also triggers allergies, and makes you feel tired and sluggish. So you might get that food coma if you eat salmon in a restaurant on Sunday that you wouldn’t get on a Tuesday.

When I cut out biogenic amines, particularly histamine, from my diet, I stopped getting headaches and hives, and I was better able to focus.

To protect yourself from too many biogenic amines, limit foods that are high in histamines. If you follow the Bulletproof Diet, you’ll naturally eat low-histamine, anti-inflammatory foods — but you may unwittingly be exposing yourself when you eat out.

(To learn more about an anti-inflammatory, low-histamine diet, check out the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap to get started.)

So if you’re headed to a restaurant this weekend, make sure you go on a Friday or Saturday. Save Sunday or Monday for kickass home-cooked meals using fresh ingredients. Get some recipe inspiration here, and your gut — and tastebuds — will thank you.

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