The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2011

The Physicians Committee

The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2011

A report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
December 2011

Some popular cookbooks of 2011, including high-profile recipe collections from celebrity chefs, encourage Americans to fill up on high-fat, meat-heavy meals, even as the country struggles with record levels of obesity and diabetes. Dietitians with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reviewed the year’s new cookbooks and named the five worst offenders.

The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2011 are:

Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes One serving of the Meatball Sandwich contains more fat than a Big Mac and more than double the calories, cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat.
Guy Fieri Food Jambalaya Sandwich contains bacon, smoked sausage, and Andouille sausage; such processed meats raise colon cancer risk.
Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible One serving of Hot Buffalo Wings (three wings) contains 910 calories and 85 grams of fat; meat-heavy diets raise obesity risk.
The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook More than 50 pages of recipes featuring grilled meat, which increases cancer risk.
The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook Bourbon Bread Pudding is saturated with butter, half-and-half, and whole milk; high-fat diets increase heart-disease risk.

 Here are the five worst cookbooks of 2011:

Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast
By Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution aimed to attack obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in America. But in his new book, Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes, the quick meals are often as high in fat and cholesterol as fast food. The cookbook’s Meatball Sandwich has more fat than a Big Mac and more than double the calories, cholesterol, and sodium found in the signature McDonald’s sandwich. One serving of Oliver’s Meatball Sandwich contains 1,182 calories, 47 grams of fat (including 18.5 grams of saturated fat), 185 milligrams of cholesterol, and 2,352 milligrams of sodium, according to a nutritional analysis based on estimates by PCRM dietitians. Other high-fat, high-cholesterol recipes in the cookbook include the Seared Pork Fillet & Catherine Wheel Sausage with Meaty Mushroom Sauce, which is packed with pork tenderloin, breakfast sausage links, smoked bacon, pork kidney, and heavy cream. And you don’t need an ingredient list to see the problems with recipes for Liver & Bacon and Pork Chops & Crispy Cracklins. A review published in the journal Diabetologia found that people who ate the most meat had the highest risk of type 2 diabetes.

Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It
By Guy Fieri and Ann Volkwein

Try the shockingly unhealthy recipes in Guy Fieri Food and your colon may not be lovin’ it. Fieri’s Jambalaya Sandwich recipe is loaded with bacon, pork butt or pork loin, smoked sausage, Andouille sausage, chicken thighs, and Havarti cheese. Each serving of this sandwich contains a substantial amount of processed meat, which poses serious health concerns. The cookbook contains a number of other processed meat-heavy recipes, including Blazy’s Pepperoni-Studded Lasagna—loaded with 2 cups of pepperoni and 2 pounds of Italian sausage. Consuming processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer, according to a large number of studies, including the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes
By Paula Deen

The recipes in Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible could have unholy results on your waistline. One serving of Hot Buffalo Wings (three wings) contains 910 calories, 85 grams of fat (including 34 grams of saturated fat), and 211 milligrams of cholesterol, according to a nutritional analysis based on estimates by PCRM dietitians. Other gut-busting meaty recipes include Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Chicken and Skillet Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya. Eating meat leads to weight gain, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers concluded that reducing meat consumption may help people avoid weight gain. Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics made PCRM’s “Best and Worst Cookbooks of the Decade” list.

The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine
By the editors at Cook's Illustrated Magazine

The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook says that “Cook’s Illustrated has become an antidote to the excesses of other cooking magazines.” But the book devotes more than 50 pages of recipes to grilled meats, from Well-Done Bacon Cheeseburgers to Grilled Chicken Breast Stuffed with Prosciutto and Fontina. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs), a family of mutagenic and cancer-causing compounds, are produced during the grilling of many animal products, including chicken, beef, pork, and fish.

The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook: Down-Home Meals for Every Occasion
By Pat Neely, Gina Neely, and Ann Volkwein

This book’s introduction says that “you can’t enjoy the meal without an open heart.” But increased risk of open heart surgery may also be on the menu for those indulging in high-fat foods. High-cholesterol dairy products are found in many of the Celebration Cookbook’s recipes, including Bourbon Bread Pudding, which is saturated with butter, half-and-half, whole milk, and eggs. Pat’s Deep-Fried Cornish Game Hens calls for 3 quarts of buttermilk, and Fried Catfish takes 2 cups of buttermilk. Dairy products are the number-one source of saturated fat in the American diet, and decreasing saturated fat intake will reduce your risk of developing heart disease, according the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.