Television chefs adding to obesity crisis with fatty dishes warn academics


Celebrity chefs are “exacerbating” the country’s obesity crisis by encouraging people to eat fatty dishes, a new study has claimed.

Nutrition experts tested more than 900 recipes from 26 famous cooks and found 87 per cent fell “substantially short” of the Government’s healthy eating recommendations.

Researchers from Coventry University found that just 13 per cent used ingredients to create “healthy” meals in line with the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) guidelines.

The study, published in the Food and Public Health journal, found that many celebrity chef recipes in cookbooks contained “undesirable levels” of saturated fatty acids (SFA), sugars and salt which are linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

However the experts behind the study refused to name the worst-offending chefs.

Dr Ricardo Costa, senior lecturer in dietetics at Coventry University, said: “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.”

Some 92 per cent of the television chefs sampled had at least one recipe with saturated fatty acids above the recommended intake for one day, the study found.

One meal contained more than five times the recommended amount, while half of the chefs had recipes with salt content equalling or exceeding the daily recommended limit of 6g.

Research by Newcastle University last year found that a dish from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, Cauliflower Macaroni, contained 1,100 calories per serving, about half an adult’s recommended daily intake. It also contained 58g of fat, three-quarters of a person’s daily need. A recipe for braised pork by Nigella Lawson contained 1,340 calories.