It seems Nutella, in their continuing quest to show their "hazlenut" spread as wholesome, healthy, and family friendly, invited a bunch of parent bloggers in the UK to attend a Nutella breakfast and info session at legoland.
Nice touch, eh, the legoland? Once I loved lego, but lately it's been branded far too much with it's Star Wars and Iron Man and GI Joe series editions - all violent and all the only kind of lego you cna find anymore. To top that off now it's even associated itself with junk food.
Yes, you heard read me right, JUNK FOOD.
For that's what Nutella is. The reason they're trying so hard to sell themselves as wholesome is that they know moms. They know the way we set our minds on something. They know that we don't like to admit we might have made the wrong parenting choices. So they want us all to chose Nutella before the truth hits through the new EU labelling and it becomes obvious that it's junk.
This is what a Nutella label in North America looks like. Now, it does differ slightly country-to-country, but essentially it is all the same
1 TBSP, which is about what you would need to spread on toast, contains 100 calories. Of that 54 calories, so roughly half, are from fat. With one third of that being saturated fat. 49.5 calories, so roughly half again, are from sugar. Yes, that's right, Nutella is half fat/half sugar. In fact, 1 TBSP of Nutella actually contains 4 tsp of dissolved sugar.
But healthy nuts are fatty, right? We know that. It doesn't make them any less healthy. And that's true. However, Nutella contains very few nuts. And you can see from the label that it offers little in the way of nutrition. Good vitamin E content, but other than that, a tiny bit of calcium and iron and that's it.
For comparison, let's look at a chocolate bar. Everyone loves a Dairy Milk bar, right? Go ahead and click on that link and take a look at the nutrition facts for a Dairy Milk bar. I think we'd all say that we would not give our child a chocolate bar for breakfast, correct.
And yet, Nutella is no better. Nutella has 100 calories per serving; there are 105 in a Dairy Milk bar. Nutella has 6 grams of fat, the same as a Dairy Milk bar (though admittedly, the Dairy Milk bar does have more saturated fat). Nutella has 11 grams of sugar, just slightly less than the 11.3 in a Diary Milk bar. Nutella has 1 gram of protein, falling under the Dairy Milk bar with its 1.5 grams.
So when one blogger said
There is a big difference between eating a jar of Nutella and the 15g portion that is recommended, just as there is a big difference between having Nutella on toast for breakfast and having a bar of chocolate for breakfast.She was actually mistaken. There is no difference between Nutela and a chocolate bar.
But I don't blame her, because she was fed a lot if misinformation along with her ooey-gooey chocolatey Nutella spread for breakfast.
In an attempt to prove that Nutella is a suitable breakfast food, bloggers met with a psychologist and a nutritionist to learn some "facts" about Nutella.
Following are a few of the things they have reported:
1. I am quite happy eating it directly out of the jar now I know it’s hazelnut spread and not chocolate spread and therefore not as bad for me as I had thought.
Well, actually, it's a fat spread mostly. It's first two ingredients are oil and sugar. In most countries, the oil is palm oil. A fat that has been recognised by the WHO as a danger for heart disease. It's also the most ecologically reprehensible oil as harvesting practices involve stripping rainforest and habitats of animals such as the amazing Orangutan as well as child and slave labour. So yes, it is as bad for you as you thought. And it's bad for the rest of the world too.
2. Of course there was the inevitable conversation about Nutella and the fact that many people see it as a treat because it's made of chocolate right? Well no actually, it's made from hazelnuts and is clearly labelled as a hazelnut spread yet because of the brown colour of Nutella we often consider it as a chocolate spread . . .It was inevitable that this come up. Once, Nutella was handicapped by having to label under Italian law as a hazlenut spread. They would have preferred to label as a chocolate spread. However, they didn't contain enough chocolate. Once they gloamed onto the fact that they could use the hazlenuts to spin the health side of things, they embraced the term "hazlenut spread." However, I am sorry to tell you, as above, it is neither a hazlenut nor a chocolate spread. Check out this ingredient list. Nutella has 50 hazlenuts in a 13 oz jar. If you do the math, 13 oz is roughly equivalent to 368 grams which is roughly equivalent to 26 Tablespoons. Therefore, 1 TBSP of Nutella has less than two hazlenuts in it. And please note, though their commercials show nuts and milk being poured into a jar, there's more chocolate than milk. And that milk is powdered and processed - as are the hazlenuts. Seriously, you'd be better off giving your child a slice of toast, a glass of milk, a handful of hazlenuts and a small square of chocolate than giving them Nutella for breakfast.
3. She also told us that one portion of Nutella is 2 teaspoons (which seems a lot to me!) but has less fat and sugar than jam like for like.First of all, there's no comparing like for like between the two. The sugars in jam are mostly natural fruit sugars. And there is no fat in jam. But, just for comparisons sake let's take the scenario of a slice of toast with margarine and jam on it. I don't know about you, but when we buy jam instead of make it, I always get the "twice the fruit" kind as it has less sugar and is tastier. It also (depending on brand) has no added colouring or preservatives. One of our favourites is a store brand here in Canada. A 1 TBSP serving contains 5 grams of sugar. A lot less than the 11 grams in a serving of Nutella. If you bought the worst jam on the shelves you would probably find it contains about 10-12 grams of sugar. So, even the worst jam is only equivalent to Nutella, not worse. And, lets remember, the sugars in the jam are mostly natural fruit sugars not processed and added white sugar. There is a difference.
As for margarine, we usually buy Becel or Smart Balance. At four and five grams of fat per serving, respectively, they come under the Nutella amount of 6 grams. They also have less saturated fat.
So my toast with margarine and jam has less sugar and fat than toast with Nutella. And it's no less healthier. I would get 10% of my RDI of Vitamin E from the Nutella or 10% of my RDI of Vitamin A and 4% of my RDI of Vitamin C from the margarine and jam. Personally, I never spread both margarine and jam on my toast. I pick one or the other.
4. For all that time I was eating Nutella I was convinced that it was chocolate spread. How wrong I was! The cocoa content for it is around 7% which is barely anything if you compare it to other spreads.I don't question the amount of chocolate. What I do question, though, is why it matters? Chocolate, as in cocoa itself, is actually quite good for you. In fact the chocolate in the spread is probably better for you than the hazlenuts are. I mean a couple of hazlenuts don't offer a lot, but just a smidge of chocolate is valuable for it's anitoxidant properties and heart-healthy cholesterols. Whether Nutella is made of chocolate or hazlenuts or squirrell poop, it's still full of palm oil or other fat and sugar. And the reason why we frown on chocolate is not because of the cocoa but because of the sugar and fat that's added to make it edible for our markets. I don't know what other "chocolate" spreads are available in the UK, but if they are marketed as chocolate spreads they are better with the higher percentage of chocolate. As the less cocoa mass that is in there, the more fat and sugar that has been added.
Essentially, it comes down to choice. Nutella is not the devil's food but it's also not a healthy part of a balanced breakfast. In fact, in 2008, Nutella was found by the Advertising Standards Authority to be in breach of advertising standards regarding accuracy in advertising for making the claim that it was part of a balanced diet.
Do I still like my Ferrero Rocher chocolates at Christmas? Yes. Do I give my children Nutella for breakfast? No. Not even occasionally. Because it really isn't worth it. No matter how much chocolate is in it, they are smart enough to know it's sweet and chocolatey and therefore a treat. So if I let them have it for breakfast they will expect other treats for breakfast. I'm sure I could pull some Ferrero quotes out to prove to them that it's actually healthy, but quotes don't make facts. And facts don't lie (even in Legoland). Nutella is fat and sugar foremost. That makes it a treat - not a breakfast.
However, if you have been craving the sweet roasted creaminess of Nutella, you can always try this recipe - a homemade organic version that's lower in sugar and fat than the original. But remember, eating the whole jar is still unacceptable!