Celebrity chef meals more unhealthy than frozen dinners, study finds
Television is littered with celebrity chefs these days.
Many of them do a good job of promoting healthy diets, giving fans access to recipes on their websites or via cookbooks.
But researchers from Newcastle University found something startling when they compared meals from celebrity chefs to pre-made meals in the frozen food section. It appears that, for the most part, celebrity meals ranked higher for calories, fat, sugar and saturated fat--and that many of them raise "red flags" for diabetes or other health conditions.
Fresh doesn't equal healthy
Researchers note that the study isn't about "bashing" celebrity chefs, but that consumers should be more careful when thinking that "fresh" or "homemade" equates to being more healthy.
A spokesperson for Lorraine Pascale, a British model and chef, admits that many of Pascale's recipes aren't necessarily the most healthy options.
"Her books and shows to date haven’t been about healthy eating, they are about cooking," the spokesperson said.
Promoting healthier eating
The problem, researchers note, is that people look up to celebrity chefs, assuming that their meals must be OK to make and eat on a daily basis. The study suggests that more TV chefs should provide accurate nutritional information for consumers and work harder to promote healthy eating. This allows people to make informed choices.
A spokesperson for Jamie Oliver agrees:
"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."
The study was published in the British Medical Journal.
Source: Spire Healthcare
Photo by John Nyboer