TV Cooking Shows Are Making Women Fatter, Warn Researchers

mom cooking with daughterLots of us who love food love to prepare our own food. We may even watch shows on that channels entirely devoted to food, and then try to recreate that TV food at home! But apparently, doing your best Bobby Flay or Pioneer Woman impression puts you on the fast track to not only being well-fed but, well, fat, claim researchers who recently published a study on the matter in the journal Appetite.

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The study author, Lizzy Pope, who is a researcher in nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont, tells NPR that she found "if you watch food television and then actually cook the recipes that you see, you're at risk for having a higher BMI [body mass index]."

Pope and colleagues at Cornell University came to this conclusion by surveying 500 women in their 20s and 30s, then documenting the women's weight and height to calcluate their BMIs. The women who watch cooking shows and cook frequently from scratch had a mean weight of 164 pounds, but women who just watched but didn't cook much from scratch weighed 11 pounds less.

Hold your horses, cuz here comes the onslaught of sensationalized headlines about how this means we're all better off eating takeout and frozen prepared meals. SO wrong.

More from The Stir: Giada De Laurentiis Stays Fit by Eating Pasta -- A Lot!

Obviously, baking up wildly sugar-laden and fat-packed desserts, like Giada de Laurentiis' chocolate hazelnut pie, all the time is ill-advised. But the idea that cooking at home in general could make you unhealthy is actually just plain sick. Because what's really making us unhealthy (and sick!) is processed foods made with chemicals galore.

We should all be the masters of your own nutritional destinies, whether that means simply being clued into what's actually in that pumpkin spice latte you're buying at Starbucks or knowing that you put 1/2 cup of coconut sugar (not gallons of HFCS) in that recipe you just made. People who love to cook usually have far more insight into what's actually going into their food.

I'd argue most people who love to prepare their own food are also more inclined to research and experiment. In turn, they're likely, on the whole, much healthier (which, by the way, isn't necessarily linked to weight or BMI at all).

Clearly, following an unofficial "Food Network diet" probably isn't anyone's best bet. A lot of the recipes showcased on the channel are for special occasions or once-in-a-blue-moon treats, not everyday meals. But to get it twisted and fearmonger that cooking at home, knowing what's actually in your food, and more likely opting for real ingredients over factory-made ones could cause weight gain is as dangerous as it is dubious.

How often do you cook what you see on cooking shows? Do you think people who cook are healthier overall?

 

 

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