He came to start a food revolution. But Jamie Oliver has been accused by one of America's most influential groups of health professionals of instead contributing to the nation's obesity crisis.
The British chef's new publication, Meals in Minutes, was named yesterday as one of the year's "five worst cookbooks" by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM], who claim it encourages eating habits likely to cause weight problems, heart disease, and diabetes. Of particular concern to the lobbying organisation was Oliver's "meatball sandwich." The PCRM dubbed it one of the year's most dangerous recipes, saying that it contains more fat, and more than double the level of calories, cholesterol, and sodium, than a Big Mac.
The disclosure is surprising given that Oliver – who has campaigned with Michelle Obama on healthy eating – won an Emmy for his US version of Food Revolution, which criticised fast food restaurants and schools for feeding children meals laden with salt, sugar, and cholesterol.
"Jamie Oliver has done some good things with regard to highlighting problems with school dinners, and fast food," said Susan Levin, a nutritionist who compiled the PCRM list. "But some of the recipes in his book are higher in fat and sodium than the processed stuff. They are laden with cream, coconut milk, butter, and red meat."