Why This Dietitian Stopped Watching The Food Network

Ailey's veggies

I used to love watching The Food Network, or more accurately, the early TV Food Network when the channel debuted. The programming was entertaining and educational. I loved Good Eats. Host Alton Brown explained the chemistry of cooking and took the mystery out of why food browned or how chemical reactions transformed food from raw to cooked. His book, I’m Just Here for the Food, is still one of my all-time favorites. I loved Healthy Appetite. Registered dietitian Ellie Krieger showed that nutritious food is delicious food. Her approach to cooking was simple, yet elegant, and she showed that family meals could be easy, tasty and enjoyed by the whole family. I still use Ellie’s book, The Food You Crave, for culinary inspiration. Early Food Network shows helped people become better cooks instead of treating cooking like a spectator sport.

But, now The Food Network seems to rely on gimmicky shows that encourage the search for the greasiest burger (do we really need a mac & cheese topped burger?) with more butter, bacon and cheese than is needed by an entire family for day, let alone a meal for one person. Game shows provide more silly diversions….how to sabotage someone in the kitchen, running around a grocery store, or watching the worst cooks in America. I don’t want to watch the worst cooks, I want to watch the best. The “next” food network star show was entertaining but where are those fresh, new faces? I see the same hosts over and over again.

In a country where a third of adults are obese and heart disease is the number one cause of death, it would be refreshing if The Food Network would help us choose good nutrition instead of showcasing the worst. The Food Network states a goal of being your “best friend in food.” But, would your best friend encourage you to overload on calories, salt and unhealthy fats? I’m sure the Food Network is just responding to viewer’s love of reality show programming. But, next time you are watching “Triple D” maybe you should be thinking about a Quadruple B, coronary bypass, that is.