Hundreds of celebrity chef recipes have been found to contain high levels of saturated fat. Are the chefs to blame for unhealthy eating, or should we take more responsibility for the food we cook?
A recent study tested 900 recipes from 26 celebrity chefs, including Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson. Most of the recipes were found to fall short of the government’s healthy eating guidelines.
Most chefs also offered at least one recipe that contained more saturated fat in a portion than you should eat in a whole day.
I can’t decide if I’m shocked or not.
On their cookery shows, many celebrity chefs are so free with their glugs of oil and cream, not to mention shavings of parmesan or handfuls of cheese. I’ve watched them add salt during cooking and then again at the end when seasoning.
So it follows that when they write a recipe for you to use at home, they follow the same principles.
Home-baked bad habits
You might only eat at a fancy restaurant once in a while, but you cook at home every day. So while it might be fine to exceed your guideline daily amount of fat, saturated fat or salt every now and again, when you do it repeatedly it starts to have a real detrimental effect on your health.
And I think there’s the belief that if you’re preparing and cooking your food from scratch, it must be healthy.
When I do use celebrity chef recipes at home, I’m always surprised at how much stock, oil, and butter you’re told to use. And I get a real shock when I bake a cake and see the butter and sugar piling up.
Swapping out sugar and saturated fat
While I haven’t made any amendments to cake recipes yet, I’ve been thinking about substituting the sugar for one of the alternatives on the supermarket shelves like Splenda or Truvia. Have you tried sugar alternatives and can you taste the difference?
I do reduce certain ingredients in other recipes. When I make a risotto I don’t use butter to soften the onions, and I don’t use as much oil as recommended. And I never make up stock according to instructions – instead I use about half the stock and more water. If I make a cheese sauce I use the strongest flavoured cheese I have, so that I don’t need to use as much to add some flavour.
Do you have any tips for making indulgent recipes a bit healthier?