Does watching TV cooking shows make us fatter?  A research team comprised of experts in nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont and Cornell surveyed several hundred women in their 20s and 30s to find out. Their findings are published in the journal Appetite, and suggest that the answer is “yes.”

Allison Aubrey (@AubreyNPRFood) reports for NPR The Salt.


“In terms of weight, those who watched cooking shows and cooked frequently from scratch had a mean weight of 164 lbs,” according to the paper. By comparison, women who watched the shows but didn’t cook much from scratch weighed, on average, about 153 lbs.

As lead researcher Lizzy Pope says, “Being a doer may put you at risk for packing on extra pounds.”

“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 [body mass index],” says study author Lizzy Pope, who’s a researcher in nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont.


The research on home cooking offers conflicting results. Some findings are that it’s healthier. Other studies indicate that for the surveyed groups, it may actually increase the likelihood of developing chronic disease (example: the findings of a study published in Preventive Medicine).

The key, per Pope? “To be mindful of how and what you cook.”


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New study: cooking at home is healthier