Here’s Why Watching Celebrity Cooking Shows Could Be Making You Fat

For some people, especially foodies, there’s nothing better than enjoying an evening with a glass of wine and a pen and paper, watching their favorite celebrity cooking show on TV.

Whether it’s Nigella, Gordon, or Jamie, there’s no doubt that a lot of the stuff they cook on TV is fattening, in some cases very much so.

So much so, in fact, that scientists have recently found an uncanny link between watching cooking programs and higher body weight.

The researchers, from Cornell University, claim that watching their idols effortlessly prepare fat-ridden dishes “might suggest a social norm for preparing these types of foods. Hosts of TV cooking shows could be seen as authorities on food, and since human behaviour is influenced by authority figures, these personalities may impact viewers’ food practices.”

Five hundred women in their 20s were surveyed by the scientists, who compared the weight of women who cooked from scratch and watched cooking shows with those who cooked from scratch but did not watch the shows.

The findings, which are remarkable, allege that those who watched cooking programs regularly had an average weight of 164 lb, compared to 153 lb for those who didn’t watch them.

Researchers noted their findings in the journal Appetite.

“Watching chefs prepare indulgent dishes on TV or watching a famous host enjoy over-the-top foods with other people all over the country might suggest a social norm for preparing these types of foods. Social norms and the modelling of eating behaviour have been shown to impact food intake in many settings and contexts. Previous research has shown that food-intake modelling can occur just by watching someone who is not physically present eat – the exact situation that may occur when people watch cooking shows on television.”

Meanwhile, another study, published in the British Medical Journal in 2012, found that cooking show dishes were jam-packed with calories and fat, and contained way less fiber than even ready meals.