Paula Deen Magazine’s Lack of Nutritional Stats Foils Slice-by-Slice Comparisons

pauladeen.jpgOn the surface, it may seem unfair to compare one of Paula Deen’s infamously rich recipes to nutrition buff Cooking Light magazine’s.

The truth is, it’s hard to know how the two recent cover dishes even stack up, given the lack of nutritional information in the scant, barely three-page spread in Cooking With Paula Deen‘s March/April 2010 issue. The magazine’s website was of no further help, and even searching Food Network’s online archives yielded only serving information.

But in light of readers’ criticism that the once-healthy focus of Cooking Light magazine is shifting toward a diet of occasional indulgences, comparing its pizza recipes to Cooking With Paula Deen’s still has some validity.

The cheesy veggie pizza on Cooking With Paula Deen’s cover wasn’t one of her typical butter-and-cream laden dishes. Instead, several fresh veggies, seasonings and spices give it its flavor.

Cooking Light magazine’s May 2010 cover story and 14-page spread encompassed everything from tips on Neapolitan-style, California thin-crust, grilled and Chicago deep-dish pizza preparation to healthy toppings, store-bought shortcuts, tips and necessary tools.

Cooking With Paula Deen magazine offered only one pizza recipe, and compared to her online magazine recipe archives this cheesy veggie pizza is only a slight variation on similar pizza recipes she’s shared over the years. Despite the lack of nutritional information, her recipe looks to compare closely with Cooking Light’s veggie grilled pizza, which calls for several fresh veggies, herbs and spices.

cooking-light.jpgCooking Light magazine provides caloric, fat, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, cholesterol, iron, sodium and calcium content on each recipe. Looking at just the basics, Cooking Light’s veggie pizza recipe contains 454 calories, 19.7 fat grams and 55.7 grams of carbohydrates. It would be surprising if Paula Deen’s recipe came in under any of these numbers, so it’s probably safe to say her version is at least closest to this one in the Cooking Light spread.

A study recently conducted by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in Washington state found that 59 percent of restaurant patrons (who ordered a total of 16,000 entrees over the course of the experiment) factored nutritional information into their choices, but only 20 percent chose a lower calorie dish because of it. Under new U.S. health care legislation, restaurants with more than 20 locations will have to post nutritional information. Though magazines fall outside this, it could potentially start a trend.

If Paula Deen’s dish stats are close to or only slightly richer than Cooking Light’s–or even if they’re not–Cooking With Paula Deen could boost its appeal to health-conscious readers if it did include the nutritional information. The aforementioned study indicates even higher calorie readings wouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker for most people. Still, readers would like to be able to make an informed decision.

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Michelle Ryan

About Michelle Ryan

Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.