Food Blogs' Nutrition Facts Revealed, But Maybe You Don't Want to Know

We all know bacon recipes are a perennial favorite on food sites. And Pinterest desserts tend to be full of enough food coloring and sugar to give a rock ADHD. To be popular online, does a recipe have to be unhealthy? Boston researchers sought to find out by examining the nutritional content of recipes on six of the most popular food blogs.

For the study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers from Boston's Simmons College identified six of the most popular food blogs — Busy at Home, Chocolate and Zucchini, Pinch My Salt, Pioneer Woman, Simply Recipes and Smitten Kitchen — using metrics from Blog Rank. The researchers then analyzed the nutrition info for 96 entree recipes from these blogs.

Overall, most of the recipes contained a reasonable amount of calories. But they tended to be high in sodium and saturated fat. Vegetarian and seafood recipes tended to have the fewest calories and lower levels of saturated fat and salt. And on average, poultry recipes were higher in sodium and calories than red meat recipes. The researchers didn't look at any other nutrition measures, such as sugar or fiber content or whether recipes used natural ingredients.

The authors conclude that there's a need for nutrition educators and dietitians to partner with bloggers to create healthier recipes, or to launch their own food blogs. Collaborating with popular food bloggers seems like a good idea — many aren't trained in nutrition and may welcome someone who could analyze recipe nutrition info or suggest swaps that make recipes healthier.

But I don't think the world needs any more food blogs, healthy or otherwise. Besides, there are close to a bazillion health-conscious (and popular) food blogs already in existence. If you're in the market for more nutritious recipes, check out some of the bloggers featured in our healthy Thanksgiving recipe roundup. A few of my personal favorite sites for finding healthy recipes are Well + Good NYC's food section, Brooklyn Supper, Organic Authority, Naturally Ella, Sprouted Kitchen and Lunch Box Bunch.