If you enjoy watching cooking reality shows but are also trying to control your diet, then there’s some bad news for you. Apparently, the two activities cannot co-exist in harmony as a study has confirmed that watching cooking shows leads to an increased risk of overeating and obesity. It’s not just watching cooking shows, but even preparing your food can lead you to eat more than usual. If you have been taking your dinner while watching MasterChef (or YouTube eating/cooking videos), then maybe you’d want to change your food habits.
According to the study conducted by University of Surrey, and published in Science Direct, what we watch can greatly impact our food intake. They divided volunteers into three groups—
1) Group 1 watched a video of someone making a cheese wrap
2) Group 2 was given instructions to prepare their own cheese wrap
3) Group 3 were to eat a wrap prepared by someone else after a non-food related activity. They spent ten minutes on a colouring book before eating.
4) The last was a control group; not given any activity and allowed to eat the cheese wrap straight away.
All the volunteers were women.
The first group, watching cooking video, ate 14 per cent more than the control group (who ate straightaway) and the second group, those preparing their own food, ate 11 per cent more than the control group.
Both these groups confessed the activities they were assigned increased their hunger and the desire to eat more than they would.
“The smells, sounds and tastes of active food preparation tell our body that food is coming. This generates an anticipatory response in both our mind and body, getting us ready to eat,” said author Jane Ogden about cooking food.
Out of the three groups given food and non-food activities, the colouring-activity group ate the least. The study also concluded that what you watch has an impact on what you eat. For instance, if you watched videos about junk food, you would consume more unhealthy food. They suggested if you really cannot go without watching such shows, then replace it with healthy cooking so it can positively influence your desire to eat healthier.
They used various questionnaires to arrive at their conclusion as well as empirical data of the study.
According to Daily Mail, this is the first ever study to analyse passive and active food activities impact on food consumption to be performed in a laboratory setting.