“A Real Recipe for Disaster”: The Healthy Lunch Guru Serves Up a Fat Bomb
January 17, 2012 1 Comment
Jamie Oliver is cute. More than that, he’s ambitious–in an ostensibly good way. Oliver is on a tear to revamp school nutrition in England and the United States. What a hoot, then, to find that his latest cookbook–Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast–made the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s shit list of 2011’s unhealthiest cookbooks.
“The high-fat meals in these cookbooks are real recipes for disaster,” says PCRM’s nutrition education director, Susan Levin. Take the meatball sandwich–which, I recall with nauseated nostalgia, was a mysterious mainstay on my school cafeteria’s “menu” way back when. Oliver’s version has 47 grams of fat (19 of them saturated), 1,182 calories, and 2,352 grams of sodium. To place these numbers in perspective note that a Big Mac–considered by the likes of Oliver to be the essence of culinary evil–has 29 grams of fat, 540 calories, and 1010 grams of sodium. Crikey Jamie! S’up?
Oliver’s official “food philosophy,” as stated on his website, waxes on about moderation, balance, and blah blah blah. What kind of moderation, though, makes room for a sandwich that is almost equivalent–in all the bad ways–to TWO Big Macs? Oliver’s meat bomb has almost three times the RDA of sodium, almost 80 percent the RDA of fat, and more than half the calories an average individual should eat in a single day. Where’s the balance in this?
More to the point, why should we trust anyone who stands to make a buck–or a pound–off food to tell us what and how to eat? Oliver’s hypocrisy is easy to stomach, as it’s a common phenomenon among most public figures, but it’s this last question that I wish would sink in as we think about Oliver’s meatball-gate.