Cornell University researcher Brian Wansink is famous for his studies on eating behavior, but in recent months, evidence has accumulated that challenges his research. Now, the last voice that claims to be a victim is … Joy of Cooking. Yes, the legendary cookbook that has been published since 1936.
In 2009, Wansink and her team reviewed seven editions of Joy of Cooking to conclude that recipes increased both in calorie count and serving size. They implied that the well-known cookbook, and not just the fatty foods of the restaurants, was responsible for the increase in obesity rates.
In a tweetstorm this week, the Twitter account of Joy of Cooking claimed that Wansink's analysis was unfair. For example, Wansink chose to analyze only 18 of the 275 recipes that have remained in the cookbook over the years, and did not account for the addition of "healthy" chapters such as salads, grains and vegetables. In addition, according to the account, the study included recipes that did not include portion sizes, so the claim that the size of the portions increases could not be true, or increased arbitrarily.
Of course, as the account itself points out, the people who work at Joy of Cooking are not impartial when it comes to Joy of Cooking. Even so, it became clear that Wansink's work is not reliable either.
Wansink was once one of the most famous figures in the field of food studies. His studies received television attention from The New York Times, and he wrote a popular book, Mindless Eating, based on his research. But in recent months, journalists led by Stephanie M. Lee of BuzzFeed have discovered a pattern of problems with Wansink's studies, many of them based on low-quality data that do not support the conclusions of the documents. For example, four widely covered studies on pizza intake come from a single experiment that even Wansink wrote was "flawed."
Take the Joy of Cooking study: it was widely picked up by mainstream media such as the Los Angeles Times, who quoted Wansink as asking if the restaurants were to blame for obesity: "What has happened in what we have been doing in our own homes? ? Through the years?"
Even at that time, the editor of the 2006 cookbook criticized the study for having "such a small number of recipes" and noted that the cookbook had become generally healthier. It is just now, almost a decade later, that collectively we have made a closer decision. So, if you feel that you have been victimized personally by Brian Wansink, journalists and investigators have turned their backs on you.
We have contacted Joy of Cooking to request more information about their analysis, as well as Wansink to request a response. This publication will be updated as soon as we receive it.