Nutella is one of those products that is almost universally loved. The rich, creamy combination of chocolate and hazelnuts can be next to impossible to resist, whether on toast, in baked goods, or even served up right out of the jar with a spoon. The best thing of all is that Nutella is advertised as actually being good for us! According to the manufacturer’s webiste, Nutella is gluten-free, caffeine-free, and contains no preservatives. Unfortunately, in a world where you need to be skeptical when listening to advertising, we need to take a closer look and determine for ourselves whether or not Nutella is actually good for us or not. That means taking a hard look at what goes into that jar.
How Sweet It is
Unfortunately, it takes little more than a quick peek at the ingredient label to know that Nutella’s health claims are, to put it mildly, overstated. A quick glance at the nutrition information reveals that every two tablespoon serving of Nutella contains 22 grams of sugar. That puts it ahead of even Duncan Hines chocolate frosting in terms of how much sugar it contains!
Like so many other breakfast items, in particular cereal aimed at children, we start to see that behind the healthy curtain of hazelnut goodness, we see a glimpse of what might be nothing more than a gussied up chocolate frosting. Still, it can’t be all bad. Let’s keep moving down the ingredient list and see what we find.
In the Palm of Your Hand
Number two on the ingredient list is palm oil. Now, many of you who have been following food trends and manufactured products are familiar with palm oil. Manufacturers love palm oil because not only is it a fully saturated fat, which means it can last a long time on the shelf without going rancid, but that it also remains in a liquid form at room temperature. This means that they can make shelf-stable products that remain moist, but there are health concerns regarding palm oil and its effect on LDL cholesterol levels.
It breaks my heart to tell you that we don’t need to look any further in order to find our answer. Any ingredient label that includes sugar and palm oil at the top of the list is not a product that in any shape or form can be realistically considered healthy. The oh-so-advertised healthy hazelnuts don’t even show up until number three on the ingredient list. It may be gluten-free and still sinfully delicious, but is Nutella healthy? Not in any sense of the word.
Tim is a food blogger and home cook who chronicles his recipes and research at http://www.chickenandapples.com/.