LONDON, April 24 The dabs of butter and splashes
of cream in recipes of celebrity chefs may be impressive on the
plate, but not necessarily so good for your health.
Research published in the Food and Public Health journal by
University of Coventry scientists said on Wednesday that recipes
of celebrity chefs were "exacerbating" health problems such as
obesity in Britain by encouraging people to eat fatty dishes.
Television shows and top-selling books by chefs such as
Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith as well as TV
cooking competitions MasterChef and the Great British Bake Off
have legions of eager fans testing out recipes.
But researchers at Coventry's health professions department
found that 87 percent of the 904 recipes from the 26 cooks they
tested fell substantially short of the British government's
healthy eating recommendations.
"If people regularly use the recipes found in these
cookbooks, it could be that celebrity chefs are exacerbating
public health nutrition issues in the UK," study author and
Coventry senior lecturer Ricardo Costa said.
The study comes just months after a survey, published in the
British Medical Journal, found that recipes by TV chefs,
including Oliver and Lawson, were less healthy than ready meals.
The researchers refused to say which chefs' recipes they
tested, but said they had sampled randomly from best-selling
books and websites in such a way as to ensure a balanced
representation of different types of meals.
"This study is not about naming and shaming celebrity chefs.
However, 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," Costa said.
After an analysis of each of the recipes, the academics
discovered that only 13 percent used ingredients that presented
an overall nutritional composition that would be considered
healthy in accordance with benchmarks set by Britain's Food
The results also indicated that all celebrity chefs whose
ingredients were analysed promoted recipes that contained
undesirable levels of certain nutrients - particularly saturated
fatty acids, sugars and salt - which are linked to obesity and
risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease.
Celebrity chef Annabel Karmel, whose cookbooks for children
and families are found in kitchens throughout Britain, told Sky
News that some recipes in celebrity books were bound to be
indulgent, but people were smart enough to make healthy choices.
"If you want to eat a chocolate cake, yes it will be way
above food standards and guidelines and that's OK because you
have the choice of eating fruit or chocolate cake," Karmel said.
"I think people are intelligent enough to choose their own
(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Alison Williams)