Is Nutella healthy? Ingredients, Nutrition and More

Nutella is a very popular dessert extension.

In fact, it is so popular that the Nutella website claims that it could surround the earth 1.8 times with the Nutella jars that are produced in just one year.

From the Nutella-inspired cocktails to the Nutella-flavored ice cream, this sweet chocolate has appeared on the menus of restaurants around the world and is a staple of cooking for many.

While Nutella is undoubtedly delicious, many people think it is healthy because it contains hazelnuts, and some even use it as a substitute for nut butters.

This article discusses the nutritional value and ingredients of Nutella to discover if it can be part of a healthy diet.

What is nutella?

Woman spreading Nutella on toast

Nutella is an extension of sweetened hazelnut cocoa made by Ferrero, an Italian company that is the third largest chocolate producer in the world.

It was originally created in Italy during the Second World War when the baker Pietro Ferrero added ground hazelnuts to a chocolate to compensate for the shortage of cocoa in the country.

Today, people around the world consume Nutella, and it continues to grow in popularity.

This spread of chocolate and hazelnuts is consumed in many ways and is commonly used as a topping for breakfast of toast, pancakes and waffles.

Although Nutella is currently classified as a dessert cover, Ferrero has been pushing for the spread to be reclassified as a breakfast cover, similar to marmalade.

This change may not seem important, but it could have a big impact on the way consumers perceive its nutritional value.

This change in classification would reduce the serving size required on the Nutella nutrition label from 2 tablespoons (37 grams) to 1 tablespoon (18.5 grams).

If this happens, customers who do not read the nutritional information carefully may perceive that Nutella is relatively low in calories, sugar and fat, when these numbers would be low due to the small serving size.

Nutella's commercials are focused on announcing the spread as a quick and healthy option for breakfast, especially for children. However, due to its high amount of sugar, it may not be the best way to start the day.

Summary Nutella is a sweetened sweetener that is popularly consumed in breakfasts and desserts around the world.

Ingredients and Nutrition

Ferrero is proud of the simple components that make up Nutella.

For example, the company has endeavored to use more sustainable ingredients, including certified and sustainable palm oil and cocoa.

Nutella contains the following ingredients:

  • Sugar: Beet or refined cane sugar, depending on where it is produced. Sugar is its biggest component.
  • Palm oil: A type of vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of the oil palm. Palm oil gives the product its characteristic creamy texture and ability to spread.
  • Hazelnuts: 100% pure hazelnut paste. Each bottle contains the equivalent of about 50 of these sweet nuts.
  • Cocoa: Most of the cocoa beans used in Nutella come from West Africa. They are processed into a fine powder and mixed with the other ingredients to give a chocolate flavor.
  • Skimmed milk powder: Made by removing water from pasteurized milk without fat. Milk powder has a much longer shelf life than regular milk and does not need to be refrigerated.
  • Soy lecithin: Soy lecithin is an emulsifier, which means it helps prevent the ingredients from separating, maintaining a smooth and uniform texture. It is a fatty substance derived from soy and a common food additive.
  • Vanillin: A flavor component that is naturally found in vanilla extract. Nutella contains a synthetic form of vanillin.

While Nutella is advertised as a hazelnut spread, sugar appears first on the ingredient label. This is because sugar is its main ingredient, which comprises 57% of its weight.

Two tablespoons (37 grams) of Nutella contain (1):

  • Calories: 200
  • Grease: 12 grams
  • Sugar: 21 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Calcium: 4% of the RDI
  • Iron: 4% RDI

Although Nutella contains a small amount of calcium and iron, it is not very nutritious and has a high content of sugar, calories and fat.

Summary Nutella contains sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, milk powder, lecithin and synthetic vanillin. It is high in calories, sugar and fat.

Is Nutella healthy?

Nutella is often advertised as a quick and easy way to prepare a delicious breakfast for children.

Commercials emphasize their "simple" and "quality" ingredients, such as hazelnuts and skim milk, but never mention the ingredients that make up most of the spread: sugar and fat.

While there is no doubt that Nutella tastes good, it should not be considered a healthy ingredient.

Loaded with sugar

Sugar is the main component of Nutella, giving the spread its sweet taste.

A serving of 2 tablespoons (37 grams) contains 21 grams of sugar, or about 5 teaspoons.

Surprisingly, a serving of Nutella contains more sugar than the same size of Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Rich & Creamy Frosting, which contains 17 grams of sugar (2).

Limiting foods rich in added sugar is critical to your health.

In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that women and children consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day, while men should limit their consumption to 9 teaspoons (38 grams) (3).

Using this rule, a woman or child would be close to their added sugar limit throughout the day after consuming only 2 tablespoons (37 grams) of Nutella.

Excessive consumption of added sugar has been linked to a variety of chronic diseases and conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, cognitive decline and even some types of cancer, including esophageal cancer (4) , 5).

In addition, added sugar may be one of the determinants of the increase in childhood obesity (6).

For these reasons, foods with high amounts of added sugar, such as Nutella, should be kept to a minimum.

High in fat and calories

Although the recommended serving size is small, 2 tablespoons (37 grams) of Nutella still contain 200 calories.

Because Nutella is sweet and creamy, it can be difficult for some people to maintain portion size, which facilitates the excessive consumption of Nutella calories.

Eating one or two servings a day could lead to weight gain over time, especially for a child.

What makes Nutella so rich in calories is the high amount of fat it contains. After sugar, palm oil is the second most abundant ingredient in Nutella.

While fats are beneficial to health in many ways, excessive consumption of fats can lead to weight gain.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer (7).

It is more "natural" than some similar products

Ferrero announces Nutella as a product that contains simple and quality ingredients.

While it contains vanilla, a synthetic form of vanilla flavor, the rest of its ingredients are natural.

One could argue that the limited ingredients found in Nutella make it a better choice than other more processed dessert spreads.

For example, Nutella contains far fewer ingredients than most glazes and frostings.

It does not contain high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or artificial food colors, all of which are ingredients of interest for health conscious consumers.

This can make Nutella more attractive to buyers who try to avoid products made with many artificial or highly processed ingredients.

Summary Nutella has a high content of calories, sugar and fat, all of which could cause health problems over time if consumed in high quantities. It contains more natural ingredients than some similar products, which may be attractive to consumers.

Do not use it as a substitute for nut butter

Nutella is associated with nut butters because it is often known as an extension of hazelnut.

Although Nutella contains a small amount of hazelnut paste, it should not be used as a substitute for nut butter.

Walnut butters, including peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter, are also high in calories and fat. However, natural butters offer many more nutritional benefits than Nutella.

While some nut butters contain added oils and sugars, natural butters only contain nuts and sometimes salt.

For example, a serving of 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of natural almond butter contains (8):

  • Calories: 200
  • Grease: 19 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Sugars: Less than 1 gram
  • Manganese: 38% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 24% of the RDI
  • Match: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper: 14% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 12% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 8% of the RDI
  • Folate 6% of the RDI
  • Iron: 6% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 6% of the RDI

As you can see, natural almond butter provides many important nutrients that the body needs to function and thrive.

In addition, most natural butters contain less than 1 gram of sugar per serving, which is a big difference from the 5 teaspoons (21 grams) of sugar found in a serving of Nutella.

Compared to Nutella, natural butters are a much healthier option.

Summary Natural butters are much more nutritious than Nutella, because they provide more protein, less sugar and many important nutrients.

Should you eat nutella?

Like any food with a high sugar content, Nutella should be considered a treat. The problem is that people often use it more as a breakfast than as a dessert.

Nutella consumption every day will increase the amount of added sugar in your diet, and most people already consume much more added sugar than recommended.

For example, the average American adult consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) of added sugar per day, while children consume about 19 teaspoons (78 grams) per day (9, 10).

You should limit the amount of sugar in your diet whenever possible, eating less sugar and reducing the amount of sweetened drinks in your diet.

Although Nutella is marketed as a breakfast food, the smartest way to use it is in moderation as a dessert spread.

If you're a Nutella fan, it's okay to enjoy a small amount from time to time.

However, do not be fooled into thinking that it is a healthy complement to your diet or to toast or your child's sandwiches, no matter what the ads suggest.

Summary Because Nutella has a high sugar and calorie content, it should be used more as a dessert than as a breakfast spread. If you eat it, eat it in moderation.

The bottom line

Nutella's delicious chocolate and hazelnut combination may be too good to resist.

However, it is important to know that Nutella contains high amounts of added sugar, fat and calories.

While it may be tempting to add Nutella to your daily breakfast, it is best to consider this chocolate-flavored dessert. As with other products with high sugar content, be sure to moderate your intake.

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