It’s been a long time since I’ve made Giada De Laurentiis’ Crab and Ricotta Cannelloni. It’s not that it isn’t a good recipe — it’s delicious — but the dish serves six and uses, among other ingredients, one cup of whole milk ricotta, one cup of Parmesan, an egg yolk, more than half a stick of butter, and four cups of whole milk. That’s a lot of fat.

In fact, many of the recipes I’ve made from cooking shows end up as only-once-in-a-while meals at my house. The recipes that are the most appealing are also usually the highest in fat and calories, so it’s no surprise that a recent study from Cornell University revealed that people who watch cooking shows and frequently make the recipes from the shows tend to weigh more than those who don’t.

The researchers surveyed 501 women ages 20-35 about their cooking show viewing habits and how they obtained new recipes.

They found that those who obtained recipe information from cooking shows and often cooked from scratch weighed an average of 11 pounds more than those who watched food TV but didn't often cook and those who looked for new recipes in print, online or from in-person sources.
The takeaway here? Watch cooking shows to get inspired, but when you actually get into the kitchen, focus on making lower-calorie, lower-fat, healthy dishes.

Although if you really want a fattening food fix, try getting it from looking at food porn instead of making unhealthy recipes. The Atlantic reports that some research has shown that “food porn may be a substitute for food itself.” Apparently, it may turn people off from wanting to eat the real thing. The real dish, it turns out, doesn’t taste nearly as good as your mind imagines it’s going to taste!

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Use cooking shows for inspiration and skip the recipes
Why? Because cooks who follow TV chefs weigh more than those who look elsewhere for ideas.