Viewers vs. doers

March 17, 2015

Do you watch cooking shows for cooking and recipe inspiration or to be wowed by the tempting culinary mastery of celebrity chefs? According to a new Food and Brand Lab study, if you often cook from scratch and source your recipes from TV, you are likely to weigh about 11 pounds more than if you watch cooking shows for entertainment and don't often cook! "One reason for this phenomenon may be that often the recipes portrayed on TV are not the healthiest and allow you to feel like it's ok to prepare and indulge in either less nutritious food or bigger portions," says co-author Brian Wansink, PhD, Professor and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, and author of the new book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life.

The Cornell team, lead author Lizzy Pope, PhD, RD (now Assistant Professor and Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Vermont), Lara Latimer, PhD, (now a Consultant & Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin), and Brian Wansink, surveyed 501 women ages 20-35 to assess their cooking habits and how they obtained new recipes. They found that those who obtained recipe information from cooking shows and often cooked from scratch weighed an average of 11 pounds more than those who watched food TV but didn't often cook and those who looked for new recipes in print, online or from in-person sources.

These findings, published in Appetite, indicate that it is advantageous for cooks to gather recipe information from sources other than television. "Because many cooking shows normalize overconsumption and gratification, it comes as no surprise that viewers' culinary habits are negatively influenced," says lead author Pope, "This is why it is so important for cooks who enjoy watching these shows to recognize these influences and learn to modify recipes to be more healthful or find recipes from other sources."
For more information see:

Cornell Food & Brand Lab

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