Celebrity chefs such as Nigella Lawson and Rick Stein are exacerbating the nation's obesity crisis by encouraging people to eat fatty dishes, it is claimed. A panel of doctors and nutritionists has attacked their TV programmes and glossy cookbooks for promoting unhealthy eating and lifestyles.
The concerns have been supported by the Government's Food Standards Agency, which is calling on TV chefs to put a greater emphasis on health and nutrition in their recipes. Enlarge A report from The Fat Panel – an independent group of experts – says there is more than the recommended daily limit of saturated fat in just one serving of some celebrity chef recipes.
Those by Jean-Christophe Novelli and John Burton-Race contain a large amount of saturated fat by using ingredients such as butter and cream, according to the panel.
Miss Lawson is criticised for using butter instead of margarine in her egg and bacon pie and Stein's Raspberry Cranachan is highlighted for its high cream content.
The recommended daily saturated fat limit is 30g for men and 20g for women. Sticking to this can reduce the risk of clogged arteries, obesity, heart attacks and strokes. A single serving of Miss Lawson's pie contains 16.8g of the fat, that is about 84 per cent of woman's entire recommended daily limit.
Stein's creamy pudding has 25g of saturated fat per serving - above the entire daily ration.
The worst offender was a portion of Jean-Christophe Novelli's Honey Roast Pumpkin Soup, which had 43.2g of saturated fat. Dietician Sian Porter, from the Fat Panel, said consumers should use cholesterol-lowering margarine, yoghurt or low-fat milk as substitutes for the 'bad fats' in the chefs' cookbooks.
Miss Porter, a member of the British Dietetic Association, said: 'These recipes are fine for a special occasion but if you cook regularly from them there is a high chance you will be taking in a lot of fat.'
Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith and Lesley Walters were among those given a 'healthy' rating. The concerns echo comments from Tim Smith, the chief executive of the FSA. It is lobbying restaurants to put calorie counts on menus. Mr Smith said there is scope for TV chefs to set a good example.