TV chef cook book meals 'are less healthy than ready meals'

 

Recipes by TV chefs including Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson are “less healthy” than ready meals, researchers said.

Meals randomly selected from the books of top TV chefs contained "significantly more" fat, saturated fat, energy, protein and less fibre per portion than supermarket ready meals, the study suggests.

Neither the ready meals or the recipes complied with all of the nutritional recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the study suggests.

Every year, UK residents spend £2.5 billion on ready meals - which are often portrayed as being unhealthy.

Meanwhile, many people's diets are influenced by recipes created by popular TV chefs - which are "sometimes promoted as being healthy".

Researchers from NHS Tees and Newcastle University compared the nutritional content of the meals.

In December 2010, researchers chose the top five TV chef recipe books on amazon.com, including 30 Minute Meals and Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver, Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale, Nigella Lawson's Kitchen and River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

They compared the nutritional content of 100 recipes randomly selected from the books to 100 own-brand ready meals from Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's.

The study, published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal on bmj.com, found that no recipe or ready meal met all of the WHO nutrient intake goals for preventing diet-related diseases.

The TV chef's recipes were also more likely to achieve red traffic light labels than the ready meals.

"Meals based on television chef recipes were less healthy than ready meals," the authors wrote.

"Significantly fewer were within the recommended ranges for fibre density and percentage of energy derived from carbohydrate and fat, and per portion they contained significantly more energy, protein, fat, and saturated fat and significantly less fibre.

"The recipes were also more likely to achieve red traffic light labels according to the criteria of the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).

"Despite reported efforts from industry to reduce the salt content of meals, only 4% of the ready meals met the WHO recommendation."

The authors suggest that TV chefs who create unhealthy meals should be subjected to a 9pm watershed. They also state that recipe books should contain more nutritional guidance, such as those portrayed on the front of many food products.

A spokesman for Jamie Oliver said: "We welcome any research which raises debate on these issues and in fact Jamie's most recent book, 15 Minute Meals, does contain calorie content and nutritional information per serving for every dish.

"We will soon also be re-launching the Jamie Oliver website with nutritional information on the recipes. However, we would regard the key issue to be food education so that people are aware of which foods are for every day and which are treats to be enjoyed occasionally."

A spokeswoman for Lorraine Pascale said: "Some of the recipes in Lorraine's book are healthy, some not quite so much so.

"There are plenty of salads, soups and light meals as well as the richer dishes.

"Her books and shows to date haven't been about healthy eating, they are about cooking. However, funnily enough, the topic of her next series and book specifically addresses healthy eating."

A Tesco spokesman said: "We recognise our role in making healthy food accessible to everyone, and in giving customers the information they need to make healthy choices.

"We have been cutting levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat across our ranges since 2005 and none of our own brand products contain artificial trans fats or artificial colours or flavours."

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman added: "We continue to reduce salt, saturated fat, fat and sugar in our own-brand products and take the lead on providing clear nutritional information, enabling our customers to make informed choices."

PA

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most