herald

Monday 1 September 2014

Star recipes use more fat and less fibre than ready meals, say experts

RECIPES by TV chefs including Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson are "less healthy" than ready meals, new research has revealed.

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

Neither the ready meals or the recipes complied with all of the nutritional recommen-dations by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Ready meals are often portrayed as being unhealthy, while many people's diets are influenced by TV chefs.

In December 2010, researchers chose the top five TV chef recipe books, including 30 Minute Meals, below, and Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver, 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 supermarkets, including Tesco.

The study 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.

"Meals based on TV chef recipes were less healthy than ready meals," the authors from the University of Newcastle 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 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.

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.

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

hnews@herald.ie

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