Eat Empowered, Emotional Eating, Healthy Eating Tips

Is the Food Network Making You Gain Weight?


We should have seen this coming when 50 different shows about baking cakes were suddenly all on TV at the same time, right?

In an interesting new report from Buzzfeed, writer Allen Salkin lays out some pretty compelling evidence showing that watching food television—and especially the Food Network—could be causing you to overeat.

Salkin argues that the network has been serving up unhealthier programming over the past few years to boost ratings, and other food media players have followed. (Not to mention the arrival of Instagram #foodporn, which is heavy on layers of oozing melted cheese and absurdly large milkshakes.)

“Somewhere along the line, mainstream food TV changed its diet—and maybe yours,” he writes.

The Research

But here’s where it gets even more interesting: the results of a handful of new studies suggest that watching shows filled with decadent food might make you actually eat more of that food. In other words, “When you see Fieri pounding pork belly po’boys with maple mayonnaise, you may subconsciously feel permitted to eat more yourself.”

One study found watching cooking shows was associated with higher BMIs, while another found that people who watched cooking shows or competition-style food shows were more likely to be binge eaters. Both of these, however, only show associations. They don’t establish what’s causing the correlation. It could be, for instance, that binge eaters are more drawn to shows that feature chefs (who can’t seem to make a dish without piling on the bacon).

Either way, if you’re trying to eat well, it probably won’t help to spend your afternoon drooling over The Pioneer Woman’s pepperoni pizza or the latest Black Tap photo. Maybe join us in celebrating super delicious, nutritious eats, instead?


(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)

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