The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2010

The Physicians Committee

Download this fact sheetThe Five Worst Cookbooks of 2010

A Report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
December 2010

Some popular cookbooks of 2010, including recipe collections from top chefs and celebrities, encourage Americans to fill up on high-fat, meat-heavy meals, even as the country struggles with record obesity levels and skyrocketing diabetes rates. Dietitians with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reviewed the year’s new cookbooks and named the worst offenders.

Here are the five worst cookbooks of 2010:

Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen

Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen: Recipes from The F-Word
By Gordon Ramsay
Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen are Gordon Ramsay’s TV shows, but they also aptly describe the recipes in his latest book. Ramsay has traveled to the ends of the Earth to bring back dishes that will wreak havoc on your health. Choose British Pheasant Casserole (two pheasants, smoked bacon, butter, and double cream) for the kind of meaty, high-fat meal that promotes obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Or try Thai Pork Satay to spike cholesterol levels.

 Home Cooking with Trisha YearwoodHome Cooking with Trisha Yearwood
By Trisha Yearwood
Country singer Trisha Yearwood won Grammys for her songs, “How Do I Live” and “I Fall to Pieces.” This year she released another heartbreaking work—this collection of high-cholesterol recipes. The Georgia native presents her recipes with family stories and tips, but unfortunately, the book does not take into account the state of Southerners’ health. States in the Southeast have the highest rates of obesity in the nation, but Yearwood’s recipes are loaded with fat and cholesterol. Garth’s Breakfast Bowl, for example, includes eight large eggs, a pound each of bacon and sausage, cheese tortellini, cheddar cheese, tater tots, and butter.

 How to Cook Like a Top ChefHow to Cook Like a Top Chef
By the creators of Top Chef
The reality show Top Chef has a ruthless elimination round for contestants. Unfortunately, many of their unhealthy recipes still found their way into the program’s cookbook. Laurine’s Bacon Donuts are deep-fried and packed with processed meat, which has been linked to increased risk of colon cancer. Hubert Keller’s Mac and Cheese is loaded with fatty dairy products: butter, heavy cream, half-and-half, and Swiss cheese. As if that’s not enough, the recipe also calls for cholesterol-packed egg yolks and 1 pound of shrimp.

 How Easy Is That?Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips
By Ina Garten
Ina Garten—host of the Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa—can’t leave well enough alone when it comes to vegetables. In her new book, she weaponizes simple, healthy vegetables with high-fat meat and dairy products. Snap peas are laced with pancetta, a processed meat associated with increased cancer risk. Celery Root Puree is spiked with high-cholesterol butter and heavy cream. Recipes for meat dishes, such as Steakhouse Steaks, are pretty straightforward—and so are the heath consequences. In 2010, studies linked meat-heavy diets to increased diabetes risk, weight gain, decreased bone health, and increased bladder cancer risk, among other health problems.

The Primal Bluepring CookbookThe Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free
By Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier
The Primal Blueprint sets back evidence-based nutrition nearly 2 million years with its meat-heavy diet. Along with artery-clogging “Paleo” recipes for Primal Pot Roast and Sausage Stew, this book includes an entire section of cholesterol-laden recipes for offal—entrails and internal organs. The authors say recipes like these are ideal for followers of Atkins and other low-carb diets. But a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that a low-carbohydrate diet based on animal food sources increases mortality risk from all causes, including cancer and heart disease.

See the best cookbooks of the last decade >