Celebrity chefs criticised for high fat use

Posted by Isobel Drake on 13th March 2009

A new report in the UK has questioned the impact of a number of celebrity chefs on the consumer diet, suggesting some are contributing to the high rates of obesity in the region.

The study by The Fat Panel analysed the saturated fat content of a variety of starters, main courses, side orders and desserts from popular cook books and discovered that many celebrity chefs’ recipes contained more than 100% of the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) of saturated fat (30g for men and 20g for women) in a single serving.

With pressure on for more people to cook from scratch at home, it is important for people to understand how these recipes can be easily and simply adapted so they can still cook them and enjoy them but also make them more healthy, the researchers said.

Lesley Waters, who appears on the English version of Ready, Steady Cook, was applauded for using ‘good’ fats throughout her cooking, while Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver were also considered among the best – although they used too much butter, according to the report. Antony Worrall Thompson was considered ‘ambivalent’ while Rick Stein was among those singled out for being “keen to use high saturated fat ingredients constantly.”

“Having a celeb chef treat is one thing but eating these dishes as they stand regularly could bump up your saturated fat intake considerably. Many chefs are making headway in creating healthier dishes, but there is still some way to go,” Sian Porter, registered dietician on The Fat Panel, said. “On average, we are each eating 20% too much saturated fat and there is considerable evidence that eating too much of this ‘bad’ fat can increase levels of LDL cholesterol, which can increase the risk of coronary artery disease.”