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Don't Be Fooled: TV Chefs’ Recipes aren't Healthier than Supermarket TV Dinners

Sep 12, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

With the boom of cooking shows and TV chefs influencing people to cook their own meals using fresh produce, a new study bursts the bubble of healthy home cooks following the likes of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Wilson. A new study shows that some recipes of these TV chefs are, in fact, the same or worse than prepackaged meals sold in supermarkets.

A new study from Newcastle University published in the British Medical Journal attempted to analyze the nutritional value of famous cookbooks from three TV chefs: "Kitchen" by Nigella Lawson, "30 Minute Meals and Ministry Food" by Jamie Oliver and "River Cottage Everyday" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The study then compared the cookbook recipes to 100 randomly selected prepackaged TV dinners from three supermarkets: Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

The results showed that regardless if you bought your dinner from a supermarket or followed a cookbook recipe, both did not meet the national and international guidelines for a balanced diet, The Guardian reports.

For example, Lawson's recipe for beer-braised pork knuckles contains 102 grams of saturated fat and has 1,340 calories per serving. Jamie Oliver, who's famous for his healthy recipe alternatives, is also guilty in creating high-calorie meals. His meatball sandwich and pickled cabbage from his "30 Minute Meal" recipe packs 1,000 calories per serving. While Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe for poached leek and Dorset Blue Vinny tart has 217 grams of saturated fats.

The above mentioned recipes are at par with Tesco's chicken tikka masala and pilau rice -- the prepackaged meal with the highest calorie count at 870 and 21.3 grams of saturated fat.

The study's results are timely as the U.S. and the U.K. face issues of increasing numbers of overweight adults suffering from diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

However, Smithsonian notes that Martin White, the proprietor of the study, was quick to defend that this is not aimed to bash TV chefs.

"That wasn't at all our intention. If you look at the TV chefs as a whole, there are a number of them who are vociferous champions for sustainable food and healthy eating. They are a passionate lot who do care about the healthy content of our diet," he said.

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