Lead author Lizzy Pope of the University of Vermont, said that the message was clear that Food TV should be a viewing experience only, not a cooking experience. The study asked 501 women, aged 20 to 35, where they obtained information about new foods, how frequently they cooked from scratch, and what their heights and weights were.
Women who watched food television and cooked frequently from scratch had a higher body-mass-index, or BMI — weighing on average 10 more pounds — than those who obtained information from sources like family and friends, magazines and newspapers, or cooking classes. Those who frequently cooked from scratch but didn't watch food TV also did not have higher BMI's.
Significantly, women who watched food television but didn't cook from scratch failed to see their viewing habits translate to a higher BMI.
The reason: the recipes on food TV "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," said study co-author Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
The study also found a correlation between higher BMI and women who obtained information from social media.
The study is published online by the journal Appetite