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According to research in the BMJ Christmas issue, recipes by much loved TV chefs (Nigella, Jamie, Hugh) contain more energy, protein, fat and saturated fat than supermarket ready meals! http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7607
However, ready meals were deemed not to be much healthier: both ready meals and TV chef recipes failed to comply with WHO recommendations for the avoidance of diet related diseases.
The authors suggest that nutritional information should be included in cookery books and that these unhealthy (but delicious) meals should be aired after the 9pm watershed, where foods that are bad for you can only be advertised after this time. We’ve seen supermarkets adopt pie charts showing the amount of fat, salt, saturated fat etc – so shouldn’t TV chefs who make millions from their brand also take some responsibility for the health of the nation?
Whilst I watch Hugh and pine for the idyllic lifestyle of River Cottage – I know it isn’t a reality for me. The food is far too expensive and time consuming to make. Are their recipes a way of life or just something we all dip into once or twice a week?
Fast food companies are subject to sanctions on when and what they can show before 9pm – probably because of the influence they might have on younger generations. But what of the middle age and middle classes – how effective would a curfew be? Surely adults will just watch the programmes after 9pm (because it’s not their bedtime) and I doubt there are many children who are TV chef fanatics and have the money and resources to binge on these recipes.
Whilst there are issues about the impact a watershed would have - should TV chefs be made to give nutritional information about their recipes? Or do you think this is an encroachment on the enjoyment you have in eating their delicious – but unhealthy- meals from time to time?