The survey of eating habits among first-year self-catering students also found men were more likely to eat fast food than women. They often see cooking as "women's work" while their female counterparts are more worried about weight gain and appearance.
The survey was carried out by University of Leicester student Hannah Cooper, 22, under the supervision of Dr Ellen Annandale, from the university's Department of Sociology. It found students' fast food consumption increased when they left home and began to cater for themselves, despite knowing of the links between fast food consumption and obesity.
The main reasons given were convenience, peer pressure and budget, as well as simply liking it. It found pizza proved to be favourite, followed by pasta, curry and French fries.
Ms Cooper, who carried out the research as part of her sociology degree, said: "Students might be tired and not feel like cooking. Fast food marketing makes it very accessible, and if several students combine to order together then it becomes an even cheaper option.
"They didn't seem to have the knowledge of how to manage money in relation to food, and fast food was sometimes seen as cheaper than cooking."
"They knew that fast food was less healthy than home cooked food, but that knowledge wasn't strong enough to override their lifestyle.