Watch the Food Network for a few hours of programming and count up the number of times a healthy eating habit is promoted. You won’t count very high.
Even with over 50% of the U.S.’s adult population overweight or obese (Wikipedia citation), healthy food and eating is on the backburner for the Food Network. As the premiere food oriented channel on basic cable, the Food Network should be more concerned with being the leading resource for good eating and lifestyle habits that can shape the country’s dietary future.
Image credit: Flickr user wallyg
I have been watching the Food Network a lot these past few weeks, and one thing seems to bother me incessantly about their programming. It is greasy, sugary, fatty, and generally unhealthy! Now, I don’t think we should tend towards the fanatic side of “nutritionism,” but more like eating less processed foods and more whole foods cooked in less grease.
A quick rundown of the shows (This is by no means a comprehensive study or accurate list of statistics. It is just an estimate from data I have gathered from viewing experience and online perusing.):
# fatty, meaty shows = 8
# sugary = 6
# of hosts who are overweight = at least 6
NONE of the primary programs have health themes
My least liked show is “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” where host Guy Fieri goes to different, usually very greasy, restaurants around the country and stuffs his face. Although I do think the places he goes to often have a nice story and culture, I feel like the show still promotes the culture of big portions and greasy plates.
The main idea behind the philosophy of the Food Network is cooking and eating for pleasure and comfort, with very little thought for important lifestyle factors that affect health. For many of the network’s shows, tasting good and feeling good are made to seem synonymous with happiness. While I am not saying that this should be true, I disagree with the pathway by which we should reach this type of happiness.
I’m do enjoy watching the Food Network, but only for entertainment purposes and not culinary education (at least not for the most part). Why would I trust someone who does not look like they have a healthy diet? I care about my health, and would appreciate it if the themes promoted by television were more responsible than they are presently.