Celebrity chefs are "exacerbating" obesity crisis with unhealthy recipe, study warns

24 April 2013
Celebrity chefs are "exacerbating" obesity crisis with unhealthy recipe, study warns

Celebrity chefs are "exacerbating" public health nutrition issues in the UK by driving people to eat unhealthy meals, new research has warned.

According to a new study, which tested more than 900 recipes from 26 celebrity cookbook authors, almost nine out of 10 (87%) of the dishes fell "substantially short" of the Government's healthy-eating recommendations.

The survey, published in the Food and Public Health journal, found that many celebrity chefs' recipes contained "undesirable levels" of saturated fatty acids, sugars and salt. Only 13% were inline with Food Standards Agency guidelines, the report added.

The study comes just months after a separate survey, from the Newcastle University published in the British Medical Journal, found that recipes by TV chefs, including Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nigella Lawson, were unhealthiser than supermarket ready meals.

However, researchers from Coventry University, who compiled the current report, declined to name the worst-offending chefs citing "professional practice protocols".

Lead author Dr Ricardo Costa, a senior lecturer in dietetics at Coventry University, said: "Given the level of trust the public tends to place in the nutritional integrity of these cooks' recipes, it's important to highlight where they're falling short of healthy-eating benchmarks.

"When you have celebrity chefs involved with promoting many of the government's healthy-eating initiatives, you inevitably encourage a culture of confidence in their culinary practices. I think there ought to be a tightening up of regulation around what these chefs can present on their own terms when it comes to nutrition or healthy-eating messages."

Celebrity chefs ready meals >>

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