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Estimating the Healthiness of Internet Recipes: A Cross-sectional Study

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

A government’s response to increasing incidence of lifestyle-related illnesses, such as obesity, has been to encourage people to cook for themselves. The healthiness of home cooking will, nevertheless, depend on what people cook and how they cook it. In this article, one common source of cooking inspiration—Internet-sourced recipes—is investigated in depth. The energy and macronutrient content of 5,237 main meal recipes from the food website Allrecipes.com are compared with those of 100 main meal recipes from five bestselling cookery books from popular celebrity chefs and 100 ready meals from the three leading UK supermarkets. The comparison is made using nutritional guidelines published by the World Health Organization and the UK Food Standards Agency. The main conclusions drawn from our analyses are that Internet recipes sourced from Allrecipes.com are less healthy than TV chef recipes and ready meals from leading UK supermarkets. Only 6 out of 5,237 Internet recipes fully complied with the WHO recommendations. Internet recipes were more likely to meet the WHO guidelines for protein than other classes of meal (10.88 v 7% (TV), p < 0.01; 10.86 v 9% (ready), p < 0.01). However, the Internet recipes were less likely to meet the criteria for fat (14.28 v 24 (TV) v 37% (ready); p < 0.01), saturated fat (25.05 v 33 (TV) v 34% (ready); p < 0.01), and fiber (compared to ready meals 16.50 v 56%; p < 0.01). More Internet recipes met the criteria for sodium density than ready meals (19.63 v 4%; p < 0.01), but fewer than the TV chef meals (19.32 v 36%; p < 0.01). For sugar, no differences between Internet recipes and TV chef recipes were observed (81.1 v 81% (TV); p = 0.86), although Internet recipes were less likely to meet the sugar criteria than ready meals (81.1 v 83% (ready); p < 0.01). Repeating the analyses for each year of available data shows that the results are very stable over time.

No MeSH data available.


Simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe created by a user in Allrecipes.com, recipe created by a television chef and an own brand supermarket ready meal, based on guidelines from the FSA.
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Figure 2: Simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe created by a user in Allrecipes.com, recipe created by a television chef and an own brand supermarket ready meal, based on guidelines from the FSA.

Mentions: Table 5 shows the traffic light assessment for the different recipe types according to modified Food Standards Agency guidelines (20). The FSA guidelines are based on macronutrient properties normalized by portion size. According to these guidelines, Internet and TV chef recipes have almost equal numbers of red labels (45 v 47% (TV)), but both TV recipes and ready meals have more green labels than Internet-sourced recipes (36 v 42 (TV) v 41% (ready)). Figure 2 shows these data averaged over all recipes of each type to provide simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe, an average TV chef recipe, and an average ready meal using a design based on FSA guidelines. Internet and TV recipes are classified as having high fat; all three categories are labeled as having low sugar, and both ready meals and Internet recipes are considered to contain medium salt.


Estimating the Healthiness of Internet Recipes: A Cross-sectional Study
Simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe created by a user in Allrecipes.com, recipe created by a television chef and an own brand supermarket ready meal, based on guidelines from the FSA.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5304340&req=5

Figure 2: Simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe created by a user in Allrecipes.com, recipe created by a television chef and an own brand supermarket ready meal, based on guidelines from the FSA.
Mentions: Table 5 shows the traffic light assessment for the different recipe types according to modified Food Standards Agency guidelines (20). The FSA guidelines are based on macronutrient properties normalized by portion size. According to these guidelines, Internet and TV chef recipes have almost equal numbers of red labels (45 v 47% (TV)), but both TV recipes and ready meals have more green labels than Internet-sourced recipes (36 v 42 (TV) v 41% (ready)). Figure 2 shows these data averaged over all recipes of each type to provide simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe, an average TV chef recipe, and an average ready meal using a design based on FSA guidelines. Internet and TV recipes are classified as having high fat; all three categories are labeled as having low sugar, and both ready meals and Internet recipes are considered to contain medium salt.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

A government’s response to increasing incidence of lifestyle-related illnesses, such as obesity, has been to encourage people to cook for themselves. The healthiness of home cooking will, nevertheless, depend on what people cook and how they cook it. In this article, one common source of cooking inspiration—Internet-sourced recipes—is investigated in depth. The energy and macronutrient content of 5,237 main meal recipes from the food website Allrecipes.com are compared with those of 100 main meal recipes from five bestselling cookery books from popular celebrity chefs and 100 ready meals from the three leading UK supermarkets. The comparison is made using nutritional guidelines published by the World Health Organization and the UK Food Standards Agency. The main conclusions drawn from our analyses are that Internet recipes sourced from Allrecipes.com are less healthy than TV chef recipes and ready meals from leading UK supermarkets. Only 6 out of 5,237 Internet recipes fully complied with the WHO recommendations. Internet recipes were more likely to meet the WHO guidelines for protein than other classes of meal (10.88 v 7% (TV), p < 0.01; 10.86 v 9% (ready), p < 0.01). However, the Internet recipes were less likely to meet the criteria for fat (14.28 v 24 (TV) v 37% (ready); p < 0.01), saturated fat (25.05 v 33 (TV) v 34% (ready); p < 0.01), and fiber (compared to ready meals 16.50 v 56%; p < 0.01). More Internet recipes met the criteria for sodium density than ready meals (19.63 v 4%; p < 0.01), but fewer than the TV chef meals (19.32 v 36%; p < 0.01). For sugar, no differences between Internet recipes and TV chef recipes were observed (81.1 v 81% (TV); p = 0.86), although Internet recipes were less likely to meet the sugar criteria than ready meals (81.1 v 83% (ready); p < 0.01). Repeating the analyses for each year of available data shows that the results are very stable over time.

No MeSH data available.