London: TV cookery shows that promote healthy eating make people consume more unhealthy snacks, scientists have claimed. In a study, researchers found that viewers are more likely to binge on junk food if they are watching a cookery show like 'Masterchef' or the 'Great British Bake-Off' than if they are watching a nature programme, a daily reported.

American psychologists recruited 80 adults to find out what impact TV viewing has on people's tastebuds. Half the participants were told to watch a cookery show, while the others watched a nature programme.

People were given three bowls, each containing chocolate-covered sweets, cheese curls or raw carrots, which were weighed before being handed out.

Afterwards the researchers, from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, weighed the food again to see how much had been consumed.

They found that people watching the cookery show got through larger amounts of chocolate sweets than the nature show viewers.

"TV watching has been associated with overeating and obesity. But how popular food-related shows affect eating behaviour has not been examined," the researchers said.

"Significantly more chocolate-covered sweets were consumed among those who watched the cooking programme.

"These findings may have implications for obesity prevention," they said. The findings have been published in the journal Appetite.

(Agencies)

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