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We are doing the cooking ourselves again

We are doing the cooking ourselves again
If you want to eat healthy, then do your cooking yourself. The less often you eat outside, and the less ready-made junk from the food industry you consume, the healthier your diet. The rise of obesity, diabetes and many more other diseases is related with a decrease in the time we spend in the kitchen, cooking our own meal. But if we are to believe the research Lindsey Smith Taillie published in Nutrition Journal, this trend has come to an end. Home-cooking is back.

Home cooking
In the 20th century food industry has become the source of our food. We eat more often from home and buy ready-to-eat meals more often. And if we are still in the kitchen, we use more and more packages, bags and trays from the food industry. Health scientist have associated this his trend with the global rise of non-communicable diseases.

But, according to Smith Taillie, an epidemiologist affiliated with the University of North Carolina, in the 21st century there seems to be a turnaround. "Interest in cooking for leisure or entertainment has increased dramatically," she writes.

"This is evident in the increasing popularity of food-related media such as food-focused television channels, celebrity chefs, food magazines, cookbooks, and blogs, as well as digital and social media and smartphone applications focused on cooking, suggesting changes in social norms and values around cooking."

We are doing the cooking ourselves again

"Thus, one question is whether the decades-long decline in home cooking has continued, or whether it has begun to plateau or even reverse."

Since 2003 the US Census Bureau has been studying the time use of tens of thousands of Americans. That happens in the American Time Use Survey. Smith Taillie got her data from that source.

In general, the number of men and women that never did any home-cooking declined. However, low-educated men and women were not affected by this trend.

Click on the figure below for a larger version.

We are doing the cooking ourselves again

The number of minutes per day that Americans spent on home-cooking increased as well. Especially educated men are spending more time preparing meals. However, less educated men are spending less time in the kitchen.

Click on the figure below for a larger version.

We are doing the cooking ourselves again

"Home cooking in the United States is increasing, especially among men, though women still cook much more than men", writes Smith Taillie.

The turnaround described by Smith Taillie is not a typical American phenomen, according to other studies. In 2015, Danish researchers reported that also men in Northern-European countries spent more time home-cooking. [Food Cult Soc. 2015;18(4):589-610.]

Even in northern Europe, women still spend more time cooking than men.

Nutr J. 2018 Apr 2;17(1):41.

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Junk Food

On a diet and want to go out to eat? Go to the Greek, not the Italian restaurant
If you really need to lose a couple of kilos of body fat, but want to go out for a meal, choose a Greek or Japanese restaurant. Avoid Italian or Chinese.

Fast food makes your life less pleasurable
The greater the role that fast food plays in your life, the less you enjoy life. Psychologists at the University of Toronto in Canada discovered this.

Fitness foods make you fat
Many people who want to lose weight do so by eating less. They become 'restrained eaters'. Food manufacturers can easily break these people's willpower and get them to eat too much.