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5 Unhealthiest, Most 'Nutritionally Shocking' Cookbook Recipes of 2022

These recipes may be delicious, but experts are worried they're sending the wrong message.
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This year brought us tons of new cookbooks filled with fresh recipes to try. While some recipes featured within the new cookbooks of 2022 were as nutritious as they were delicious, many other recipes within these texts were so shockingly unhealthy that experts questioned whether or not they were worth cooking. In fact, dietitians from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit organization made up of over 17,000 doctors, recently looked into some of Amazon's most popular cookbooks. After careful review, registered dietitians from this committee chose what they considered to be the unhealthiest cookbook recipes from this year, rounding them up in a report titled The Worst Recipes From Amazon's Top Celebrity and Restaurants Cookbooks.

"Most of these cookbooks send not only the wrong message, but the exact opposite message, about what families should be eating," Stephanie McBurnett, a dietitian with the Physicians Committee, said in the report.

Many of these recipes are extremely high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and added sugar—all of which are known to contribute to heart disease and other serious illnesses. Additionally, this report notes that the Committee had hoped to see more plant-based recipes, but instead saw heavy amounts of meats and cheeses throughout.

Read on to learn what the Committee selected and identified as the five worst recipes from Amazon's top restaurant and celebrity cookbooks in 2022. Perhaps 2023 will be a better year, in terms of healthy recipes in popular cookbooks—if you're eager to learn which cookbooks are set to debut in 2023, be sure to also check out 10 New Cookbooks We Can't Wait To Get Our (Oven) Mitts on in 2023.

The Overnight Mac & Cheese from Go-To-Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

Ina Garten
Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten is arguably just as well known for her warm, comforting demeanor as she is for her cooking. An expert chef who has spent decades entertaining and educating viewers on the Food Network, Garten has a new cookbook on the market called Go-To Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. The purpose of her new book is to make cooking dinner a seamless, low-effort process for busy weeks. However, the Physicians Committee is worried about her recipe for Overnight Mac & Cheese.

According to the report, this mac & cheese recipe has 1,800 calories and 88 grams of saturated fat. For perspective on why these numbers are concerning, the American Heart Association recommends around 13 grams of saturated fat a day for a heart-healthy diet.

Spinach and Pesto-stuffed Butternut Squash from Half Baked Harvest Every Day: Recipes for Balanced, Flexible, Feel-Good Meals by Tieghan Gerard

Half Baked Harvest
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

America has fallen in love with Tieghan Gerard for her creative cooking and approachable food blog, Half Baked Harvest, which she started in 2012. Since then, Gerard has become a New York Times bestselling author and has been featured on the Food Network, HGTV, and the Cooking Channel.

Gerard's third and latest cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Every Day, was highly anticipated by fans and already has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon. However, one of the book's recipes—the Spinach and Pesto-Stuffed Butternut Squash—is one that the Physicians Committee is warning readers about.

According to their report, although this recipe sounds healthy, it's loaded with three different types of dairy and 22 grams of saturated fat. Recent research from the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, diets higher in saturated fat can contribute to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Braciole al Latte from Via Carota: A Celebration of Seasonal Cooking From the Beloved Greenwich Village Restaurant: An Italian Cookbook by Anna Kovel, Jody Williams, and Rita Sodi

Via Carota
Courtesy of Via Corota

If you haven't been to Via Carota in New York City yet, it's likely because you just haven't been able to score a reservation. This small Italian restaurant located in Greenwich Village, has almost 85k followers on Instagram and is one of the top spots for celebrity sightings in the city.

Needless to say, after the restaurant's cookbook was released in October '22, it caused quite the stir. But despite its 4.4 rating on Amazon, there's one recipe in this book that the Physicians Committee disapproves of most. According to their report, the Braciole al Latte—which literally translates to "milk chops" in Italian, referring to pork braised in milk—contains a whole cup of lard and 1 1/2 cups of milk. This brings the nutritional value to over 800 calories 72 grams of fat, which the report says is comparable to an Army's Ham & Swiss Melt.

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Black Bottom Cranberry Tart from Preppy Kitchen: Recipes for Seasonal Dishes and Simple Pleasures (A Cookbook) by John Kanell

Preppy Kitchen
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

John Kanell's background is unique in that he actually spent more than a decade teaching math and science to middle schoolers. A couple of years ago, Kanell decided to combine his experience in the classroom with his love of food and lessons learned growing up cooking with his mother, to start Preppy Kitchen. Kanell's mother is Mexican and his father is Greek, so he says he grew up enjoying a combination of Mexican, Greek, American, and even French cuisine. Now, he's helping people feel confident and prepared in the kitchen.

While his book already has 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon since its initial release in October, it contains one recipe for a Black Bottom Cranberry Tart that the Physicians Committee agreed was among one of the more unhealthy recipes to come out this year. The report explains that even though you can enjoy some fresh cranberries with this recipe, it still contains 14 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, five egg yolks, and two eggs. A dietitian from the committee explained that she had hoped she could alter this recipe to be plant-based, but that the heavy use of eggs and dairy make it difficult.

Day-Ahead Eggnog from Celebrate With Babs: Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions by Barbara Costello

Celebrate with Babs
Courtesy of Target

Barbara Costello has made waves on TikTok as @brunchwithbabs, aks "everyone's grandmother." The 73-year-old grandma of eight started making videos on TikTok when she retired, and now her cookbook is among the top-selling books on Amazon.

While this book can be a great source of inspiration for your holiday cooking ventures, the Physicians Committee warns that Babs' Day-Ahead Eggnog is full of extra calories and fat. Each drink has 543 calories and 43 grams of fat, according to the report. For one beverage, which you may have two or three of, this is a hefty dose of calories from fat!

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Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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