"Fat Shaming" and the changing face of Cooking Shows

Why “Fat Shaming” Backfires

November 1, 2014

It’s not uncommon, when people are fighting the bulge, that friends and family and sometimes doctors, chime in about exercising more, what not to eat and how much weight they’ve gained.  But guess what? A new study says this approach is not helpful.  “Fat shaming”, as it’s called, can generally end up having the reverse effect. 

This new study, from University College London, looked at almost 3000 adults aged 50 or older over four years.
They found the 5 percent of volunteers who reported day-to-day “weight discrimination”—such as being treated disrespectfully in shops or at work—gained an average of 2 pounds, whereas the others lost 1.6 pounds over the same period.

Jane Wardle, director of the Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Centre at University College London said in a statement that, “weight discrimination is part of the obesity problem and not the solution”. Overall the study concluded that shaming people for their weight makes them feel discouraged and depressed so they resort to comfort eating instead. 

 If you love food, you probably love TV Shows about food.  And you may have noticed that since the days of Julia Child, cooking shows have changed.  In a world of reality TV many food shows have replaced the typical “how-to” with shows about food competition: reality shows that pit chefs against each other.

Krishnendu Ray, a professor of food studies at NYU's Steinhardt School recently told NPR that these shows are popular with networks because they're cheap to produce. But they also reflect a changing audience that now include males, not just the stay-at-home Moms. 

People love to watch these shows, and talk about shows. Are they necessarily making what they see? Ray says, but socioeconomic factors are keeping them out of the kitchen. "People being very busy, long commutes, two jobs: those are the reasons why people are not cooking,". But it certainly creates a more broad food discussion as seasonal trends are developed and the new celebrity chefs are created.

But we want to know what you think! Do you love food TV? What do you watch?  Go to this link (Phil points to bottom of screen) and check out our quick poll, we'll pick out 10 people at random and send you a tote bag!


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