Many Celeb Chefs’ Recipes Not Healthy: Study

Mairlyn Smith
Celebrity chef – and home economist – Mairlyn Smith says creating healthy recipes requires specialized knowledge and skills.

Celebrity chefs serve up amazing food that tastes great and is good for you, right?

Research shows that most people believe that food created by famous chefs is generally healthy.

Well, maybe not.

Some researchers at Coventry University in Britain took a look at 904 recipes written by 26 celebrity chefs.

A celebrity chef is a chef who has become famous and popular—often because of they’re on a TV show or own a famous restaurant.

More than 85 per cent of the recipes the researchers tested “fell substantially short of the UK government’s healthy eating recommendations,” according to a media release on the Coventry University website. Most of the recipes called for ingredients that are known to contribute to health problems like obesity and heart disease.

The recipes in the study were randomly chosen from chefs’ cookbooks and websites.

When the recipes were analysed, the researchers found that the meals contained high levels of saturated fatty acids (“SFAs”), sugar and salt.

Most (92 per cent) of the chefs had at least one recipe whose SFA content was “above the recommended intake for an entire day,” according to the university’s media release.

Some of the recipes contained more salt in one meal than a person should eat in a day.

Marilyn Smith is a Canadian celebrity chef and home economist, who creates very healthy recipes. She says she’s “not even remotely surprised that the celebrity chefs were creating recipes that weren’t healthy. Just because someone is in the public eye or on TV doesn’t mean they’re an expert.”

She said that creating healthy recipes requires “special training or knowledge of hidden health risks in foods.”

Fat, salt and sugar make food taste good, she said. “The trick as a healthy recipe developer is to create fabulous tasting food without using or at least limiting those not-so-healthy ingredients.”

Smith has a message for kids.  “Take a look at the adults around you,” she says. “Look at who has the most energy, isn’t overweight, is the most active, feels great, is still having fun. They probably eat a healthy diet and are active. That’s who you need to choose as your role model. If you, too, want to feel great, you need to eat healthy foods. It’s not what you look like, it’s how you feel that is important.”

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Given how important it is to eat healthy, why do you think these famous chefs would create recipes that are unhealthy?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
Do you think celebrity chefs have an obligation (duty) to prepare healthy meals? Why do you think so? Share your opinion with a classmate and discover new ideas that either support or are opposed to your own.

Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Compound Adjectives & Hyphens
A hyphen is a punctuation mark that can be used in a few different ways ( – ). One way a hyphen can be used is to create a compund adjective. A compound adjective is created when two or more words are used together create one adjective. Don’t forget, an adjective is a word that describes a noun (person, place, or thing)! When compound adjectives are used, hyphens are placed between the words to tell the readers that these words are being used in this way. It’s for this reason that when journalist, Joyce Grant, wrote, “not-so-healthy ingredients,” she placed hyphens between the first three words. By doing this, the reader can easily identify that these three words are compound adjectives and are being used to describe the ingredients.

Using the information in today’s article, write your own compound adjectives to describe the ingredients in many celebrity chef recipes.