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Are cooking shows contributing to America's obesity problem?

Posted: 12:01 PM, Oct 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-08 19:04:40Z

Cooking shows are popular and can be addicting to watch. However, one self-proclaimed diet guru believes shows like the "The Great American Baking Show" should come with a warning that it advocates obesity.

Do cooking shows really have an effect on how much watchers end up consuming? 

Eight in 10 adults watch cooking shows, according to research by MarketingCharts.com .    

Many of those cooking shows don’t necessarily promote healthy eating. But Dr. Kevin Masters, a professor of psychology at University of Colorado Denver, says you can’t correlate obesity to cooking shows.

“The overweight and obesity issue in this country is around--depending on your numbers-- is 60 to 70 percent of the population,” says Masters. “And you’re talking about a very small population even watch these shows, much less we could say are influenced by them.”   

However, Marketing Charts research also found that 57 percent of those who watch these cooking shows purchase food as a direct result of something they saw on the show.   

"Some people will plant a thought that they weren't having before,” Dr. Masters explains. “Will it actually lead to action in a particular instance? That's going to depend on a whole lot of other factors."  

Dr. Masters says you might have people make or buy fatty, sugary food after watching a cooking show, but that doesn't mean these shows are the direct cause of people in America being overweight.   

"I think what's more likely is the audience attracted to those shows--maybe an audience that's more attracted to that kind of eating anyway--and finds something in the show that's of interest to them."