Much of what we see on TV is for entertainment and shouldn’t be seen as things we act out in real life. Who would have thought that one of those things is cooking? Food television networks often produce exquisite dishes prepared by professionals and amateurs, but when we bring these dishes out of the television and into our kitchen it can add to your waistline.
A recent University of Vermont study of women aged 20 to 35 showed that women who recreate dishes they viewed on food-related television shows had a higher body mass index (BMI) and weighed on average 10 pounds more compared to women that gathered their food information from sources such as friends and family, magazines, or cooking classes.
Why is this? According to co-author of the study, Brian Wansink, the dishes we see on food-related networks, “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.”
Do you know how many calories was in the last dish you saw made on food-related television? Me neither. We don’t really see the nutritional value that any of these prepared dishes have, we just know that it looks (and most likely tastes) good. But one thing we have learned with a level of certainty is taste, although important, isn’t the most crucial factor in preparing a healthy meal — a factor that we may neglect while admiring the dish.
So where does this leave the food networks? Do they have a responsibility to prepare healthier meals? Or is it the viewer’s responsibility to be mindful of the dishes they see on TV and understand that they may not be the best choice to base a diet on? Maybe it’s a combination of the two. What do you think?