UK & World News
Jamie And Nigella Roasted In Nutrition Study
Recipes by TV chefs including Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson are often "less healthy" than ready meals and their programmes should be subjected to a 9pm watershed, a study says.
It found that meals randomly selected from their books contained "significantly more" fat and saturated fat and less fibre per portion than supermarket ready meals.
Neither the ready meals nor the recipes complied with all of the nutritional recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The research was carried out by a team from NHS Tees and Newcastle University, which based it on the top five TV chef recipe books on amazon.com in December 2010.
These were 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 spokesman for Tesco said: "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."