Posted on 14/11/2012

Are TV Shows Making Us Fat?

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Are TV Shows Making Us Fat?

Could TV cookery shows be making us fat?

According to recent reports, TV cookery shows could be making us fat. Headlines from the Daily Mail state that “TV cookery shows make us tuck into unhealthy snacks”. Referring to a small study carried out by researchers from the Department of Psychology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (US), young adults who viewed a 10 minute clip of a cookery show ate more calories from chocolate-based sweets than those who were shown a clip of the same length featuring a nature documentary.

Subjects watched the TV clips before being led into a room and asked to sample as much, or as little, as they wanted from a choice of carrots, crisps or chocolate-covered sweets. During this 10 minute period, although the calories did not differ significantly between the groups, those who watched the cookery clip ate approximately 40 calories more of the chocolate-covered sweets.

The newspaper reports however neglected to mention the overall calorie consumption and the insignificant difference between the two. They also fail to recognise that the study was highly artificial. Only brief exposure to the TV show and limited food options and study time limit its findings – questioning how relevant this is to ‘real life’ behaviour. The subjects were aware of the purpose of the study too – another factor that could have influenced results.

The research team admit that any future research should examine the snacking associated with watching TV in “more similar to real-life situations” and while no concrete conclusions can be drawn as of yet – research may one day present us with an insight into our snacking habits.

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