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Your Favorite Cooking Show May Be Making You Fat Says Study

Tim Boyer's picture
Cooking show making fat

Cooking shows are among the most popular TV shows in America. They’re interesting, they’re informative, and they’re fun. But did you know that a new study found that your favorite cooking show may be one of the causes of your weight gain?


According to a CBS News, a new study found that TV cooking shows are a primary source of recipes for many people who have decided to skip on restaurants and fast food take-out and start cooking at home more often for wholesome meals. However, doing so does not always translate into healthier eating.

The study consisted of a national panel survey of 501 females aged 20–35 that assessed how the participants obtained information on new recipes, and asked a series of questions about their cooking habits, their height and their weight.

With the information gathered, the researchers then calculated the respondents’ BMI (body mass index) and applied statistical analysis to determine if and what associations were revealed regarding obtaining information about new foods, cooking from scratch, and the effect it may have on BMI.

"Our main finding is that it seems that if you watch food television and then actually cook the recipes that you see, you're at risk for having a higher BMI," says study author Lizzy Pope, a researcher in nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont and the lead author of the study.

According to the study’s results, women who watched cooking shows regularly and cooked frequently from scratch, had a mean weight of 164 lbs. In comparison, women who watched cooking shows but didn't cook much from scratch weighed an average of 153 pounds. The women who watch and cook had an average BMI of 27.49; the women who like to watch, but not cook, had an average BMI of 25.63.

Interestingly, the study also showed that when women obtained their recipes and cooking advice from other print, online, or in-person sources, that the data did not show a statistically significantly association with BMI.

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The study points out that the possible problems associated between cooking show watching and subsequent cooking is due to that:

• Viewers may see celebrity chefs as authority figures on food
• The recipes often exceed recommended calories and fat
• The show may encourage overeating
• Social media may boost opinion of televised recipes causing people to view the dish as a healthy norm

Health experts state that you do not have to give up on cooking shows. Rather, follow some sensible guidelines such as:

• Tune in on shows that promote healthy cooking
• Keep all portions in moderation
• Always read the nutritional values of ingredients used in recipes
• Adjust the recipes to contain healthier ingredients

For an informative article about healthy cooking, here are 3 cooking oils in the kitchen that can help you live healthier and longer.


CBS News “New study examines cooking shows and weight gain

Viewers vs. Doers. The relationship between watching food television and BMIAppetite Volume 90, 1 July 2015, Pages 131–135; Lizzy Pope et al.