The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2012
A report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Popular cookbooks of 2012, including a Fifty Shades of Grey-themed recipe collection and offerings from celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray, encourage Americans to fill up on high-fat, meat-heavy meals, even as the country struggles with record levels of obesity and diabetes. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reviewed this year’s cookbooks and named the five worst offenders, according to a nutritional analysis based on estimates by PCRM dietitians.
|The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2012
|The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook
||One serving of Squab with Fig Foie Gras contains more cholesterol than 10 Big Macs and about as much fat as 12 tablespoons of lard.
|Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches
||One serving of Emeril’s Monte Cristo sandwich contains as much sodium as half a medium Papa John’s pepperoni pizza.
|Rachael Ray’s My Year in Meals
||One serving of Hearty Mac & Cheese with Squash & Sausage contains about as much saturated fat as a package of Original Oscar Mayer Bacon.
|Fifty Shades of Chicken
||Just four Bacon-Bound Wings contain more cholesterol than a 10-ounce New York strip steak at Outback Steakhouse.
|Southern Living The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook
||One serving of the Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole has more cholesterol than eight Cinnabon Classics.
The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook
By Emily Ansara Baines
Nutritional Shocker: One serving of Squab with Fig Foie Gras contains 1,143 calories, 75 grams of fat, 58 percent of calories from fat, 751 milligrams of cholesterol, 28 grams of saturated fat, 22 percent of calories from saturated fat, and 960 milligrams of sodium.
The recipes in The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook would leave even the dowager countess speechless: Mock Turtle Soup is made with a calf’s head, forcemeat balls (veal mixed with fat), ham, American cheese, and butter. Squab with Fig Foie Gras is made with pigeons, duck fat, foie gras (veins removed), and butter. One serving has more cholesterol (751 milligrams) than 10 Big Macs and about as much fat (75 grams) as 12 tablespoons of lard. A new study in the British Medical Journal found that people with diets lower in fat intake have lower body mass index, smaller waist size, greater weight loss, and lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure, compared to people with diets higher in fat.1
If you are planning a party for the season three premiere this January and don’t want your guests carried out like Lady Mary’s diplomat friend, you’ll also want to steer clear of the Saxe-Coburg Soup (butter, heavy cream, and whole milk) and Lobster Thermidor (lobster, butter, whole milk, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and bacon). Dairy products are the No. 1 source of saturated fat in the American diet. Decreasing saturated fat intake will reduce your risk of developing heart disease, according the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.2
Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches
By Emeril Lagasse
Nutritional Shocker: One serving of Emeril’s Monte Cristo sandwich contains 1,386 calories, 80 grams of fat, 51 percent of calories from fat, 201 milligrams of cholesterol, 36 grams of saturated fat, 23 percent of calories from saturated fat, and 2,439 milligrams of sodium.
Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches includes phrases like “it may be everything you are trying to avoid” and “don’t let the name scare you.” So it is no surprise that Emeril’s Monte Cristo is a Swiss cheese, ham, cheddar cheese, and turkey sandwich that is slathered with butter and mayonnaise, beer-battered, deep-fried, and dusted with sugar. One serving contains 2,439 milligrams of sodium. That is as much sodium as half a medium Papa John’s pepperoni pizza. It is also far more sodium than the majority of Americans should consume in a day, according the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Lagasse created Spicy Meatloaf Po’boys with Smoked Provolone for newswoman Diane Sawyer. With friends like Lagasse, who needs enemies? One sandwich contains mayonnaise, provolone cheese, and Spicy Meatloaf (bacon, ground beef, pork sausage, eggs, and heavy cream). People who consumed the least amount of red and processed meat products had reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer, compared with those who consumed the most, according to a 2012 study in the British Medical Journal Open.3
My Year in Meals
By Rachael Ray
Nutritional Shocker: One serving of Hearty Mac & Cheese with Squash & Sausage contains 805 calories, 40 grams of fat, 44 percent of calories from fat, 91 milligrams of cholesterol, 18 grams of saturated fat, 19 percent of calories from saturated fat, and 1,344 milligrams of sodium.
Rachael Ray lobbied Congress and joined first lady Michelle Obama to promote healthy school lunches. But what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling? My Year in Meals offers the world—including children who view Ray as a role model—a glimpse into the high-fat, high-cholesterol meals she prepares daily at home.
On April 15, Ray bypassed the gift of health for a friend’s birthday and made artery-clogging Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon-Cream Frosting loaded with bacon, buttermilk, butter, cream cheese, and milk.
On Oct. 17 she made Hearty Mac & Cheese with Squash & Sausage with cheddar cheese, pecorino cheese, heavy cream, and a pound of sausage. One serving contains 18 grams of saturated fat—about as much as a package of Original Oscar Mayer Bacon.
On Dec. 15, her “meatball party” brought her show’s 2011 season—and maybe a few arteries—to a close with Buffalo Chicken Meatballs (blue cheese dressing for dipping), Danish Meatballs (ground beef/pork/veal, eggs, whole milk, butter, and heavy cream), and Spaghetti & Meatball Meatballs (spaghetti is mixed into the ground beef meatballs).
Long-term weight loss was associated with a decreased intake of meat, cheese, and sweets and an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, according to a recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.4
Fifty Shades of Chicken
By FL Fowler
Nutritional Shocker: One serving of Bacon-Bound Wings contains 518 calories, 32 grams of fat, 55 percent of calories from fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 9 grams of saturated fat, 16 percent of calories from saturated fat, and 1,375 milligrams of sodium.
The subtitle of Fifty Shades of Chicken is “a parody in a cookbook.” But there’s nothing funny about how these cholesterol-laden chicken recipes will affect your health. Bacon-Bound Wings made with eight strips of bacon, Whipped Livers made with a pound of chicken livers, and Chicken Under the Covers made with 14 tablespoons of butter are a few of the suggestive recipes meant to spoof Fifty Shades of Grey—but they won’t do anything to improve your love life.
Just four Bacon-Bound Wings contain 125 milligrams of cholesterol. That’s more cholesterol than a 10-ounce New York strip steak at Outback Steakhouse. In men, fatty diets can lead to artery blockages that cause impotence—a warning sign for heart disease.5 A JAMA study found that men with erectile dysfunction had a 45 percent increased risk of a subsequent cardiovascular event.6 Consuming one high-fat meal also reduces testosterone, according to a study published in Metabolism.7
It is not just the names of the recipes that make Fifty Shades of Chicken dirty. PCRM reports found that about half the chicken products marketed by national brands and sold in supermarkets in 11 U.S. cities are contaminated with feces.
Southern Living The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook
By Heather Averett, Senior Editor
Nutritional Shocker: One serving of Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole contains 463 calories, 30 grams of fat, 58 percent of calories from fat, 179 milligrams of cholesterol, 11 grams of saturated fat, 22 percent of calories from saturated fat, and 1,014 milligrams of sodium.
Southern Living The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook will sideline even diehard football fans with its recipes that take tailgating to a new unhealthful extremes. Geared toward fans of the Southeastern Conference, which includes college teams in the southeastern United States, the recipes in this cookbook are packed with high-fat, high-cholesterol processed meats that increase the risk for colorectal cancer and heart attacks.
Tailgaters who start the day with the Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole that contains a pound of mild pork sausage, a pound of spicy pork sausage, a cup of cheddar cheese, six large eggs, and two cups of milk may not see halftime. A single serving has more cholesterol than eight Cinnabons. It also contains 22 percent of calories from saturated fat—more than double the limit recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Research shows that a single fatty meal like this can raise blood pressure, stiffen major arteries, and cause the heart to beat harder.8 Couple that with a New England Journal of Medicine study that found that the number of heart attacks in one major city doubled during a big sports event,9 and the results could be sudden death.
Penalties also go to Scrambled Egg Muffin Sliders (bacon, buttermilk, eggs, butter, and cheese), Mini Muffulettas (ham, salami, and Swiss and provolone cheeses), and Bacon-Wrapped Barbecue Burgers (bacon and ground beef).
What cookbooks will 2013 bring? There are rumors of a meat-heavy cookbook from Sarah Palin. But America doesn’t need more high-fat, high-cholesterol cookbooks from celebrities who know little or nothing about nutrition, as millions continue to suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other diet-related diseases.
1. Hooper L, Abdelhamid A, Moore HF, Douthwaite W, Skeaff CM, Summerbell CD. Effect of reducing total fat intake on body weight: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and cohort studies. BMJ. Published online December 6, 2012.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp. Accessed December 4, 2012.
3. Aston LM, Smith JN, Powles JW. Impact of a reduced red and processed meat dietary pattern on disease risks and greenhouse gas emissions in the UK: a modelling study. BMJ Open. 2012;2:pii:3001072.
4. Gibbs BB, Kinzel LS, Gabriel KP, Chang YF; Kuller LH. Short- and long-term eating habit modification predicts weight change in overweight, postmenopausal women: results from the WOMAN Study. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112:1347-1355.
5. Morley JE, Korenman SG, Kaiser FE, Mooradian AD, Viosca SP. Relationship of penile brachial pressure index to myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accidents in older men. Am J Med. 1988;84:445-448.
6. Thompson IM, Tangen CM, Goodman PH, Probstfield JL, Moinpour CM, Coltman, CA. Erectile dysfunction and subsequent cardiovascular disease. JAMA. 2005;294:2996-3002.
7. Volek JS, Gómez AL, Love DM, Avery NG, Sharman MJ, Kraemer WJ. Effects of a high-fat diet on postabsorptive and postprandial testosterone responses to a fat-rich meal. Metabolism. 2001;50(11):1351-1355.
8. Jakulj F, Zernicke K, Bacon SL, Wielingen L, et al. A High-Fat Meal Increases Cardiovascular Reactivity to Psychological Stress in Healthy Young Adults. J Nutr. 2007;137:935-939.
9. Wilbert-Lampen U, Leistner D, Greven S, et al. Cardiovascular Events during World Cup Soccer. N Engl J Med. 2008;358:475-483.