It Turns Out Watching Cooking Shows Could Actually Make You Fatter

by Sean Levinson

Your TV may have it out for your diet.

A study published in the journal Appetite found that viewers who don't try to cook the meals they see on cooking shows or those who don't watch at all are less at risk of gaining those extra pounds. Those who watch the shows for recipe instructions or inspiration, however, tend to pack on a few more pounds, the Huffington Post reports.

Researchers, led by University of Vermont Assistant Professor Lizzy Pope, surveyed 501 women ages 20 to 35 about the sources they used to get information on new foods and how often they cooked them from scratch.

Participants were also asked their height and weight.

The group of women who watched cooking shows -- a group the researchers called "viewers" -- weighed more than those who didn't watch the programs. The women who actually watched and prepared the meals -- a group that researchers called "doers" -- weighed even more, according to Today.

On average, the "viewers" weighed 153 and the "doers" weighed 164.

The heavier participants also had higher BMIs, which measures the amount of fat on a person's body.

Pope explained food on cooking shows often looks extremely appetizing, but tends to use more sugar and fat. The final dishes, therefore, end up less healthy and make it easier for people to gain weight.

Pope said,

If you are going to put the effort into making food, you want it to look good and taste good.

But people can watch as many cooking shows as they please, she concluded, as long as they understand most recipes aren't meant to be replicated.

She added,

Food TV should be a viewing experience only, not a cooking experience.

The team additionally found that women who get food advice from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tend to have higher BMIs as well.

Pope believes this stems from the false belief that unhealthy food can't be that bad because so many social media users seem to be regularly enjoying it.

Citations: Watching Cooking Shows Could Lead To Weight Gain (The Huffington Post), Do cooking shows make you fat (Today)