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NEWS RELEASE January 29, 2010

Doctors List Best and Worst Cookbooks of Decade

Heart-Friendly Recipes from Rip Esselstyn, Alicia Silverstone Muscle out Fat-Heavy Diets from Paula Deen, Julia Child

WASHINGTON—If you’re looking to eat healthy in 2010, which cookbooks should you avoid? Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for one, and Bobby Flay’s Grilling for Life, for another, says the Washington-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which advocates a healthy diet for disease prevention.

A new PCRM report finds that many cookbooks released or revived in the last decade encourage readers to consume more fattening meat-heavy meals at a time when record obesity rates mean that Americans have never needed more encouragement to eat nutritious low-fat foods. Paula Deen’s recipe for Baked Wild Rice in her cookbook Kitchen Classics, for instance, sounds healthy but incorporates one cup of heavy cream and one cup of butter.

“These high-fat recipes help explain why America’s obesity-related medical spending doubled over the past decade,” said PCRM nutrition director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “You’d need a magnifying glass to find a vegetable in some of these cookbooks. But the good news is that a growing number of chefs are offering tasty meatless recipes that can help us stay trim and healthy.”

Among the bright spots were cookbooks like Alicia Silverstone’s recently released The Kind Diet and Nanci Alexander’s The Sublime Restaurant Cookbook, which can help Americans improve their diets to fight obesity and other chronic diseases.

Here are the decade’s best and worst cookbooks:

Worst Cookbooks

  • Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics by Paula Deen
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 13th edition by Julia Child
  • Grilling for Life by Bobby Flay
  • Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book: Celebrating the Promise
  • Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore by Jennifer McLagan
  • Atkins: The Complete Cookbook by Atkins Nutritionals Inc.
  • Kill It and Grill It: Ted and Shemane Nugent's Guide to Preparing & Cooking Wild Game and Fish by Ted Nugent

Best Cookbooks

  • The Sublime Restaurant Cookbook by Nanci Alexander
  • The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
  • Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!) by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
  • The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen
  • The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn
  • Cooking the Whole Foods Way by Christina Pirello
  • Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry

For more information or to schedule an interview with PCRM dietitian Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., contact Vaishali Honawar at 202-527-7339 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Vaishali Honawar

  Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

Related Link:
The Best and Worst Cookbooks of the Decade

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