Advertising makes you fat

Advertising’s a good thing. Why? Well this newspaper couldn’t be brought to you if it wasn’t for the income provided by the commercial companies and public sector bodies wanting to get their products and services and notices across to you. Meaning it’s a good thing because it keeps journalists and newspaper printers and newsagents in jobs, at the same time training youngsters the benefit of getting up at 6am on cold winter mornings delivering newspapers so that they can earn some money. Advertising keeps the employees of advertising agents and graphic designers in work, not to mention the employees of the companies placing the ads when you flock to their premises to buy their stuff.

And all of these people in jobs pay tax. And they pay some more tax in VAT when spending the money they’ve earned. And the people they spend it with pay tax on the profits they’ve earned (unless they’re Starbucks). And all of this tax goes to pay for things like your bins being emptied. Therefore advertising keeps the streets clean and that means it’s a good thing. Advertising obviously works.

There’s blatant advertising like you’ll find on TV during the breaks as well as on the adjacent pages here. Then there’s the slightly more subtle. Take the likes of Top Gear and other car programmes. While they might slag off certain aspects of the cars, they still get the product in front of people who may not have considered it otherwise. There’ll be many a family car been sold on the basis that Jeremy Clarkson didn’t like it – in the same way many more have been sold because he did. For that reason car company executives will rub their hands with glee every time the BBC rings them up. There’s generally no such thing as bad publicity.

Don’t you think that programmes that review package holidays don’t get the phones ringing and the internet buzzing? And fashion programmes? And pop chart shows? What’s MTV if not one continuous advert?

And so we come to cookery programmes. What could they be advertising? Well there have been instances when Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver have distorted the market by recommending a particular cooking utensil or naming a new ingredient. But in general it’s claimed that they’re there to teach us how to cook. Well it seems that rather than that, by far the biggest effect these programmes have is they make people fat.

Psychologists in New York carried out a study to see what effect food porn – sorry, cookery programmes – had on taste buds. They found that people who’ve just watched a cookery programme were much more likely to eat sweet calorie-laden fattening foods than those who’d watched a nature show who, when offered a snack, tended more to eat carrots.

So watching such shows makes people yearn for the more fattening, instant gratification type of food; the three litre, leather-seated gas-guzzler type of foods that are bad for us all. And this shows that just by watching something on telly we can be made to change our actions.

So when cigarette companies tell you that their advertising doesn’t persuade you to smoke, don’t listen to them. Cookery programmes have been demonstrated to make us put on weight. It doesn’t help that sitting on the sofa watching Nigella ooze around the cooker doesn’t exactly burn off the calories in the same way as knocking up your own family meal might; even though it might get the heart rates of chaps of a certain age racing 

Cookery programmes teach people to cook? I’m sorry, it may not be intentional, but I’m afraid they just make you fat.

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