Cakes and sandwiches on Gogglebox encourage viewers to eat unhealthy snacks, food expert Professor Tim Spector says
- The show apparently pushes the idea that you can’t watch TV without a snack
Gogglebox may seem like a harmless guilty pleasure, but it has been criticised for encouraging viewers to gorge themselves on snacks.
The show – Channel 4’s biggest after the Great British Bake Off – pushes the idea that you can’t watch television at night without a snack, according to food expert Professor Tim Spector.
Bafta-winning Gogglebox has hooked millions of viewers on the heartwarming and often comical reactions of families, friends and couples who are filmed as they watch TV.
But the unhealthy treats they eat on screen encourage viewers to tuck into processed snacks laden with sugar, salt and fat at night, according to Professor Spector.
Speaking on the Science and Nutrition podcast, which is made by Zoe, the nutrition firm he co-founded, Professor Spector, of King’s College London, said: ‘If you watch Gogglebox, everyone’s watching TV and they’ve got plates of sandwiches and cakes.
Gogglebox may seem like a harmless guilty pleasure, but it has been criticised for encouraging viewers to gorge themselves on snacks
The show pushes the idea that you can’t watch television at night without a snack, according to food expert Professor Tim Spector (pictured)
‘In many parts of the UK this is the tradition – you can’t watch TV unless you’ve got snacks. It didn’t used to be. That’s the worst time to be eating these foods.’
A study from King’s College London and Zoe found snacking after 9pm, when many people watch television, could be damaging to your health.
When researchers took 854 people and analysed their blood sugar level – which is linked to the risk of type 2 diabetes – and their blood fat level – which is linked to the risk of heart attacks and strokes – those who snacked after 9pm had worse readings than those who didn’t.
Professor Spector said: ‘Shows like Gogglebox reinforce the habit of consuming foods like pre-packaged muffins, cakes and pastries, cupcakes and biscuits whilst sitting in front of the TV at night – specifically after 9pm.
‘Our guts need a long rest overnight from digesting and processing food so our gut microbes can get to work.
‘Also, late-night snacking whilst watching TV adds another layer of distraction so that someone can easily miss their body’s signals that it is full and reach for another cookie.’
Around 85 per cent of people in the UK say they snack during the day, compared with only about 10 per cent of French citizens.
In this country, the average person has about two and a half snacks a day, which means they eat about six times a day.
Bafta-winning Gogglebox has hooked millions of viewers on the heartwarming and often comical reactions of families, friends and couples who are filmed as they watch TV
Professor Spector, author of Food For Life and Spoon Fed, told the podcast: ‘Our ancestors were not eating six or seven times a day. In the Sixties and Seventies we didn’t bring snacks to school.
‘But now you talk to parents and they’d be horrified at the idea of sending little Johnny to school without some midday sugar. It is crazy how it’s become part of the norm. This is all marketing.’
Channel 4 said: ‘Gogglebox airs at 9pm and is aimed at an adult audience. We trust viewers to make an informed decision on what they eat while watching TV.’
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