Nutella has been loved by children everywhere since it was first made in 1946. It’s become so popular that many restaurants now serve Nutella as an ingredient to dishes in their dessert menu.
Believing the spread to be nothing more than a jar full of nutritious hazelnuts and a bit of chocolate, parents usually feed this to their kids as part of a “balanced” breakfast.
And the marketing is partially right (if not a complete lie)—it can be a PART of a balanced breakfast. I mean, if you’re eating a healthy, organic, no-preservatives-added breakfast and Nutella just happens to be on the side, you might be able to get away with eating a good meal. This does not, however, mean Nutella is good for you.
Nutella Health Benefits Are Non-Existent
With only 10% of the actual spread containing hazelnuts, you can probably guess that Nutella, in fact, has no health benefits at all.
Just two tablespoons of Nutella contains 11 grams of fat (3.5g saturated), and 21 grams of sugar, pushing this “healthy” spread to 200 calories. A normal chocolate and nut bar contains 12-16 grams of fat and is 250 calories.
So basically, you’re 1 gram and 50 calories away from eating a candy bar for breakfast.
The ingredient list for Nutella, as published on the jar, contains:
“Sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), soy lecithin as emulsifier, vanillin: an artificial flavor”
Not even mentioning the fact that sugar is the number one ingredient with hazelnuts finishing up in third place, let’s take a closer look at some of these “natural” ingredients.
Processed Palm Oil
In Italy, their largest supermarket chain, Coop, had recently removed about 200 products that contain refined palm oil, including Nutella. When oxidized, palm oil creates reproductive toxicity and is toxic to the kidney, liver, lungs and heart. In more severe cases, this ingredient could potentially cause cancer.
Coop had taken the precautionary measure to stop selling products that were aimed at children, protecting them from the risk of developing cancer.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) expressed particular concern about these contaminants found in most vegetable oils and that palm oil contains particularly high levels.
They looked at three substances derived from glycodil, which is found in vegetable oils. They are glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE), 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD), and 2-monochloropropanediol (2-MCPD).
The EFSA reviewed previous scientific studies and found that repeated exposure to GE increases the incidence of tumors in rats and mice, probably by damaging the genetic information in their cells. Exposure was particularly harmful to children, the agency said.
While Nutella contains very few ingredients, a whopping half of the jar contains sugar! According to the Nutrition Facts label, a jar of Nutella has 21 grams of sugar per 37 grams of spread (about two tablespoons), meaning that in reality, more than half is sugar!
Reduced Minerals Whey
Whey is the product of cows that have been fed GMOs, hormones and antibiotics. It’s made with heat to dry out the whey. This process removes over 90% of the original minerals found in whey, making it completely useless as a source of nutrition.
Soy lecithin is produced when a chemical solvent extracts soybean oil from raw soybeans. It is then “degummed” by water until the lecithin is separated from the oil. It’s usually bleached in a dried stated with hydrogen peroxide.
Vanillin: An Artificial Flavor
Chemically made in a lab using petroleum, Vanillin is 95% of only the scent of vanilla leaving barely a trace of any real vanilla. Vanillin also contains MSG which has harmful levels of glutamate and excitotoxin. Many scientists believe excitotoxin aids the development of numerous neurological disorders, including seizures and migraines.
Make Your Own Healthy Version Of Nutella
Making your own homemade healthy Nutella isn’t too difficult. All you need are a few ingredients and a good blender. This is so healthy, you wouldn’t feel guilty feeding them to your children!
Try making a small portion at first and adjust the ingredients to your taste. The secret to making a smooth creamy paste is to keep blending till you get the desired consistency.
- 2 cups roasted hazelnuts or any nuts of choice (remove skin)
- 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder
- ½ cup maple syrup or raw honey
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- ¼ tsp celtic sea salt or to taste
- Place the hazelnuts (or nuts of choice) into your blender and blend on medium for the first few minutes. Scrape down the sides as you go.
- Add all the other ingredients and keep blending on medium. Scrape down the sides as you go.
- Blend for some time till you get the smooth consistency that you desire.