Is Cooking at Home Healthy?

The Lempert Report
February 03, 2015

Studies show that cooking at home is good for you, and good for your family… until now?

Is cooking at home always the healthiest option? According to a recent study from researchers at Rush University in Chicago, the answer is no! 

Researchers found that the more time middle-aged women spent cooking at home, the more likely they were to suffer from metabolic syndrome, putting them at risk for heart disease and diabetes. For the study they analyzed SWAN (Study of Women's Health Across the Nation) data to see how cooking related to  things like glucose levels, abdominal obesity, triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and hypertension. Having at least three of these markers qualifies a person as having metabolic syndrome. Results showed that the odds of having metabolic syndrome increased as the women aged, but the increase was faster among those who said they spent more time preparing meals. 

One of the reasons for this could have been that added into this cooking at home mix is baked goods for example, things like cakes, cookies, brownies and also high-sugar, high-fat, high-salt packaged food example.  And while the message of this study should not be - don't cook at home - it does serve as a reminder than when we do encourage families to cook at home and eat at home we need to think more holistically. They're have been several studies that focus on the benefits of families eating together at home, healthier, better communication with kids etc but it needs to be more than that, the message needs to be about what kind of food we eat.  The message of cook at home needs to be about nutrition.