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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 based on guidelines from the FSA between the years 2000 and 2015.
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Figure 3: Simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe created by a user in Allrecipes.com based on guidelines from the FSA between the years 2000 and 2015.

Mentions: To establish how stable these values are over time, we calculated the same statistics for each year of data available to us. Table 6 shows the nutritional content per portion of Internet recipes created by users in Allrecipes.com for the years 2000 to 2015. Similarly, Figure 3 presents the simulated front of package labels, based on the guidelines from the FSA (20), for an average Internet recipe created by Allrecipes.com users for each year during that time period. Overall both depict stable trends over time. The FSA labels for macronutrients, for the average recipe based on annually uploaded recipes, are the same for every year in the dataset. Figure 4 demonstrates the percentage of Allrecipes.com recipes meeting different numbers of WHO criteria overall, and Figure 5 depicts the same information at a macronutrient granularity. Both figures show limited annual variation but present an overall consistent trend.


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 based on guidelines from the FSA between the years 2000 and 2015.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: Simulated front of package labels for an average Internet recipe created by a user in Allrecipes.com based on guidelines from the FSA between the years 2000 and 2015.
Mentions: To establish how stable these values are over time, we calculated the same statistics for each year of data available to us. Table 6 shows the nutritional content per portion of Internet recipes created by users in Allrecipes.com for the years 2000 to 2015. Similarly, Figure 3 presents the simulated front of package labels, based on the guidelines from the FSA (20), for an average Internet recipe created by Allrecipes.com users for each year during that time period. Overall both depict stable trends over time. The FSA labels for macronutrients, for the average recipe based on annually uploaded recipes, are the same for every year in the dataset. Figure 4 demonstrates the percentage of Allrecipes.com recipes meeting different numbers of WHO criteria overall, and Figure 5 depicts the same information at a macronutrient granularity. Both figures show limited annual variation but present an overall consistent trend.

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.