Jamie Oliver hits out at Australian nutrition ‘experts’
HE'S the face of the sugar tax movement, and the champion of eliminating childhood obesity - but even Jamie Oliver thinks some Australian healthy living 'gurus' are taking the junk food ban a little too far.
Speaking to news.com.au, the celebrity chef and nutritionist said kids should be able to go to a birthday party and "get sick" on lollies - because it's what happens at home that counts.
"Personally I don't care [about birthday party food] because if you have belt and braces done at home, you don't have to worry about the fairground," Oliver, who is currently in Australia, told news.com.au.
"You don't have to worry about the cinema and you don't have to worry about some horrible birthday party.
"Let them get sick [on lollies] ... because once you've had too many sweets, you'll tend not to do it again."
Last month, model and mother Rachael Finch told the Sunday Telegraph that she and husband Michael Miziner hadn't let their eldest daughter Violet, 3, taste any lollies. At weekend birthday parties, Finch revealed that the toddler is allowed just a sliver of cake.
"Sometimes at birthday parties, parents don't have sandwiches or sushi or fruit," Finch, 28, told Stellar in April.
"So before she goes, I make sure she is full of healthy food. I'm with her and while I don't say no to everything, she understands it's a treat when she has a tiny slice of birthday cake."
Oliver, who has five children - Poppy, 15, Daisy, 14, Petal, eight, Buddy, six and River nine months - said while his wife Jools does "worry" about party food she'd never "fill them up" before a party.
"I think the question is what [food] do you do for a kid's birthday party," he said.
"Personally, I've never found a kid who doesn't like a really nice roast dinner with potatoes and chicken.
"Throw that in the middle of a table and they'll kill it. But life is about having some treats as well."
Finch is not alone in her stand on birthday food. Celebrity chef Pete Evans has also admitted to not letting his two daughters, Indi and Chilli, indulge in lollies at a birthday party.
Writing in his magazine The Paelo Way in 2015, the My Kitchen Rules host said that he had successfully deterred his daughters from eating a lolly bag they brought home after a party.
Evans - who advocates a dairy, grain and legumes free lifestyle - asked his daughters if they would feed a pet bunny bad foods, even when they know the rabbit should only eat grass and water.
"What if the bunnies wanted to eat lollies because the other bunnies in the street were and there was a chance that maybe their bunnies would get sick or not live as long or be in pain, would they ever feed the bunnies the lollies?" he said in the magazine.
Both daughters agreed they would want to feed their hypothetical pets the right diet.
Oliver, who is currently in Australia ahead of Food Revolution Day on May 19, was educated in London before taking his first culinary engagement at Antonio Carluccio's Neal Street restaurant as a pastry chef. He was noticed by the BBC and in 1999 made his TV debut as The Naked Chef. His first cookbook subsequently became the No. 1 bestseller in the UK.
During his 17-year television and publishing career, Oliver grew his cooking and food education empire to become the wealthiest chef in the world - with an estimated value of $400 million.
In that time he's noticed a change in nutritional advice - especially from bloggers, models and influencers who claim to be 'experts' in the health and wellbeing field.
Some, like Finch, are extreme advocates of healthy eating but others are greater concern to Oliver.
"There's a lot of self diagnosis going on, and a lot of bulls**t and a lot of total crap being talked about [in food and nutrition]," Oliver said.
"There's a lot of lies, like 'oh I had cancer and I cured myself' from 'trusted' sources - there's a lot of fake stuff."
In April 2015, Australian wellness advocate Belle Gibson admitted she had made up her story about having been diagnosed with brain cancer and having just four months to live back in 2009.
Gibson claimed she rejected traditional cancer treatments - and instead turned to a holistic approach that favoured "clean eating" and juice cleanses.
The 25-year-old built a large social media following and made more than $1 million off the back of a cookbook and app called The Whole Pantry, which detailed her recovery, and gave health and wellness advice.
The blogger now faces a penalty handed down by the Victorian Federal Court for a majority of claims, including defrauding clients and profiting from false cancer claims.
"As a qualified chef and nutritionist, either know it yourself or get the advice yourself," Oliver said.
"There is a responsibility to the publisher that they go through books for litigious stuff and for copyright stuff.
"If people are claiming stuff and it's complete bulls**t thats the publisher's fault. If anyone starts quoting anything on health and nutrition - it's the publisher's duty to make sure we have it checked and double checked."
"Because if you're going to inspire people on mass to do something and it's based on ill fact or lies, that's a big problem."