DIETERS BEWARE SERIES
Is Nutella spreading it on “slick” when comes to good nutrition?
A Review by the BodyTech Weight Loss and Health Team.
Have you ever tried to find the exact list of ingredients for Nutella chocolate spread online? You know, the identical list that appears on the Nutella product label, as required by law? Well, guess what astute food detectives discovered. You won’t find an accurate account on Nutella when comparing online vs. product packaging labels! Here’s what we found and what has led us to the conclusion that Nutella isn’t as healthy a food for anyone in your family.
You’d think that the official website would give the full listing of Nutella ingredients, as well as the nutrition figures, in exactly the same way most other food manufacturers do these days. Think again. Below is a recent screen capture from the official Nutella website.
Nutella contains: hazelnuts, cocoa powder, skim milk powder, vegetable oil, sugar, soy lecithin and vanillin
Looks pretty appealing, doesn’t it? Think again. While this list may lead you to believe Nutella is a food with a high concentration of healthy ingredients, it is not. Sure, these are the actual the ingredients found in a jar of Nutella spread, but beware they are not shown in a truly accurate order of concentration. Some might speculate that Nutella would like you to believe that their product is composed mainly of hazelnuts and cocoa. The truth is that these two ingredients are far from the most concentrated in the spread. If the first listed Nutella ingredient displayed online was sugar, would you feel the same as you might about a product that first lists hazelnuts? We think not, and herein lies the problem we discovered.
Digging to the bottom of the Nutella ingredient list
Last week, a member of our diet team stopped by the local grocery story in Rockville, MD and decided to purchase a jar of Nutella in the hopes of finding answers to probing questions about Nutella ingredients. After a careful review of the ingredients label, we found some remarkable discrepancies between the Nutella ingredients list found online vs. that which appears on the jar we purchased.
It appears the actual ingredients label we inspected, showed “sugar” as the first ingredient in our jar of Nutella. Second on the list was “vegetable oil”. This revelation got us thinking, how many consumers may be as confused by the discrepancy in ingredients listings shown online vs. on the jar? Take a look below at the list of ingredients, on our Nutella jar. Now you can come to your own conclusion about what Nutella might be trying to do and you should definitely question the actual nutritional value of this popular food spread that is marketed heavily as a healthy breakfast option for you and your kids.
Revealing Nutella jar vs. online ingredient disclosure
In contrast to the Nutella ingredients we found listed online, our Nutella jar displays a different perspective about the spread’s ingredients. Due to FDA food labeling requirements, The actual food label below reveals the true concentration of ingredients and shows us that sugar and oil are the highest concentrated ingredients in our spread.
CONCLUSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
Here’s a closer look at the key ingredients contained in a jar of Nutella.
Sure it contains hazelnuts, but only 13%. A small portion by our nutritional measure. So perhaps this is less a hazelnut spread then it is a sugar and fat spread? Hmmm.
Sugar is the first ingredient and thus the main ingredient in a jar of Nutella, as measured by all ingredients weight. By our calculations, this jar of Nutella is 55 percent sugar! Folks, that’s on par with chocolate candy bars.
• VEGETABLE OIL
The second ingredient listed on our jar of Nutella spread is vegetable oil (also known commonly known palm oil). This kind of oil is considered a semi-solid fat and is often used by food manufacturers, like Nutella, to create a more spreadable food texture. Palm oil is free of trans fat, but is still high in saturated fat.
Cocoa solids (or powder) gives Nutella its chocolatey taste.
Soy lecithin – a common emulsifier that keeps the sugar, oil, nuts and cocoa nicely blended and stops them separating out during the months on the shelves. It’s considered a safe additive, unless you’re allergic to soy.
• FLAVOUR (VANILLIN)
Vanillin flavour is not, the same as vanilla or vanilla extract. Vanillin is most likely a synthetic form of flavoring that is concocted to be “identical” to natural vanillin, but is likely a much less expensive ingredient.
OTHER NUTRITION FACTS
Per a serving size of 20g, which equates to one tablespoon of Nutella
• Protein 7.3g
• Fat, total 30.3g
• Saturated Fat 10.0g
• Carbohydrate 54.7g
• Sugars 54.4g
• Sodium 33 mg
Nutella provides very little nutrition.
Little protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals are offered up in an average serving of Nutella spread. So what are we getting a “healthy” dose of when consuming Nutella? Not so good for us sugar and fats friends.
Is Nutella healthier than peanut butter?
No, don’t be fooled. Nutella might be displayed on the same aisle as peanut butter, but it isn’t a nutritional swap. On average, most peanut butter spreads contain more protein, little sugar by comparison, healthier fats and many essential vitamins.
Is Nutella healthier than jam?
No. Nutella contains 54-percent sugar and many popular jams and honey spreads have around 60- to 70-percent sugar. But Nutella includes 30-percent fat too and the jams and honey normally are non-fat products.
Healthy dieter bottom line.
Nutella is NOT a healthy food.
Adapted from a post that first appeared April 2011 in Additives & Labels