Nutella is a popular chocolate hazelnut spread that is enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s a common topping for toast, pancakes, and other desserts. While Nutella is widely loved for its taste, there have been concerns about its healthiness.
In this article, we will take a closer look at Nutella, its ingredients, potential health benefits, and what experts have to say about it. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of whether Nutella is bad for you or not.
What is Nutella?
Nutella is a popular brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread. It is made primarily of sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, and skimmed milk powder.
The spread is often used as a topping for toast, waffles, and other baked goods, and is a popular ingredient in various dessert recipes.
Nutrition Facts of Nutella
A 15g serving (1 tablespoon) of Nutella contains the following nutritional information:
- Calories: 80
- Fat: 4.5g
- Saturated Fat: 1.5g
- Carbohydrates: 8.5g
- Sugar: 8g
- Protein: 0.9g
- Sodium: 15mg
The primary ingredients in Nutella include:
- Sugar: A common sweetener that provides a source of energy.
- Palm Oil: An edible vegetable oil that is used to give Nutella its smooth and creamy texture.
- Hazelnuts: A type of nut that is used to add flavor and texture to the spread. Hazelnuts are also a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
- Cocoa: A natural antioxidant-rich ingredient that gives Nutella its chocolate flavor.
- Skim Milk: A dairy product that is used to provide a creamy texture to the spread.
- Soy Lecithin: A type of fat that is commonly used in processed foods to help mix ingredients together.
It is important to note that Nutella contains a significant amount of sugar and fat, which can contribute to weight gain and other health problems if consumed in excess. It is recommended to consume Nutella in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Pros and Cons
As with any food, there are both pros and cons to consuming Nutella. Here are some potential pros and cons:
- Contains hazelnuts, which are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein
- Contains cocoa, which has antioxidant properties and may have cardiovascular benefits
- Can be a tasty addition to a balanced diet in moderation
- High in sugar, with two tablespoons containing 21 grams of sugar
- High in calories, with two tablespoons containing 200 calories
- Contains palm oil, which has been linked to environmental concerns and potential health risks
It is important to remember that moderation is key when it comes to consuming Nutella, as with any sweet treat.
Health Benefits of Nutella
While Nutella is known for its delicious taste, it is not typically considered a health food. However, there are some potential health benefits associated with Nutella’s ingredients.
Hazelnuts, the main ingredient in Nutella, are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, and minerals such as magnesium and potassium.
Cocoa, another main ingredient, contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that may have cardiovascular benefits.
However, it’s important to note that Nutella also contains added sugar and palm oil, which can have negative health effects if consumed in excess.
Consuming too much added sugar can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, while consuming too much palm oil can increase levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
In moderation, Nutella can be enjoyed as a treat or part of a balanced diet. However, it should not be relied upon as a primary source of nutrition.
What Do Medical Experts Say About Nutella?
Medical experts have varying opinions about Nutella. While some consider it to be a healthy spread in moderation, others caution against its high sugar and calorie content.
According to Dr. Walter C. Willett, Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Nutella is a relatively healthy alternative to many popular spreads, but it still contains high amounts of sugar and calories.
A better alternative would be to spread peanut butter or almond butter on toast for a more balanced breakfast.”
It is important to note that Nutella should be consumed in moderation, as it is high in calories, sugar, and fat.
Scientific Studies on Nutella
It is important to note that while Nutella does contain some ingredients with potential health benefits, it is also high in sugar and calories.
There is limited scientific research specifically on the health effects of Nutella, but there are studies on the potential benefits and drawbacks of its individual ingredients.
- A study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that hazelnuts, the main ingredient in Nutella, contain high levels of antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that cocoa, another key ingredient in Nutella, may have cardiovascular benefits by improving blood flow and reducing the risk of blood clots.
- However, a review of multiple studies published in the Journal of Circulation found that excessive consumption of added sugars, like that found in Nutella, can increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
It is important to consume Nutella in moderation as part of a balanced diet and to consider the potential drawbacks of its high sugar and calorie content.
What do Health experts say about Nutella?
Many health experts warn against consuming Nutella regularly due to its high sugar and fat content. Registered dietitian Lisa Drayer states, “Nutella is a tasty hazelnut spread that contains cocoa, sugar and palm oil, along with skim milk and a tiny amount of hazelnuts.
While it’s not exactly healthy, it is considered a better choice than peanut butter because it has less saturated fat and sugar” (CNN).
Another registered dietitian, Abby Langer, adds, “Nutella is essentially a spreadable candy bar. While it contains hazelnuts, they’re a distant second to the main ingredients, which are sugar and palm oil” (Today).
Overall, health experts suggest consuming Nutella in moderation as a treat rather than as a regular part of one’s diet.
Who Should Avoid Nutella?
Nutella is high in sugar and calories, which can have negative health effects for certain individuals. People with diabetes, obesity, or other conditions that require monitoring of sugar or calorie intake should avoid consuming Nutella in excess.
Additionally, individuals with allergies to nuts, dairy, or soy should avoid Nutella due to its ingredients.
It’s worth noting that moderation is key and occasional consumption of Nutella is unlikely to have significant negative health effects for most people. However, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and overall dietary intake to ensure a balanced and healthy diet.
Alternatives to Nutella
- Peanut Butter: A classic and healthy alternative to Nutella, peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fats. It also contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.
- Almond Butter: Another popular and healthy alternative to Nutella, almond butter is rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium.
- Cashew Butter: Cashew butter is a delicious and nutritious alternative to Nutella. It contains a good amount of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, iron, and zinc.
Is Nutella gluten-free?
Nutella is gluten-free, as it does not contain any wheat, barley, or rye. However, it may be processed in facilities that also process gluten-containing ingredients, so individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should check the label and consult with their healthcare provider if they have any concerns.
Is Nutella vegan?
Nutella is not vegan, as it contains skim milk powder. However, there are vegan alternatives to Nutella available in the market.
Is Nutella a healthy breakfast option?
While Nutella can be a tasty addition to breakfast, it is not considered a healthy option as it is high in sugar and calories. It is best consumed in moderation as an occasional treat rather than a regular breakfast staple.
Does Nutella have nuts in it?
Nutella contains hazelnuts, which are a key ingredient in the spread. Individuals with nut allergies should avoid Nutella or check with their healthcare provider before consuming it.
How long does Nutella last once opened?
Nutella can last up to a year after opening if stored properly in a cool, dry place. However, it is best consumed within 3-4 months of opening for optimal taste and quality.
Conclusion: Is Nutella bad for you?
Nutella can be enjoyed in moderation as a tasty treat, but it is not a health food. While it contains some nutrients from its hazelnut and cocoa components, it is also high in sugar and calories.
The frequent consumption of Nutella may lead to weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, and other health issues. Health experts recommend limiting the intake of Nutella and choosing healthier alternatives for daily consumption.
1. Cova B, Pace S. Brand community of convenience products: New forms of customer empowerment–the case “my Nutella The Community”. European Journal of Marketing. 2006. https://www.emerald.com
2. Edwards CH, Rossi M, Corpe CP, Butterworth PJ, Ellis PR. The role of sugars and sweeteners in food, diet and health: Alternatives for the future. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 2016;56:158-166. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224415301539
3. Elson RJ, Denaux Z. NUTELLA® and the use of palm oil: A case study. Journal of Business Cases and Applications. 2018;22. https://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/182892.pdf
4. Dobhal K, Singh N, Semwal A, Negi A. A brief review on: Hazelnuts. International Journal of Recent Scientific Research. 2018;9(1):23680-23684. https://recentscientific.com/sites/default/files/9672-A-2018.pdf
5. Di Mattia CD, Sacchetti G, Mastrocola D, Serafini M. From cocoa to chocolate: The impact of processing on in vitro antioxidant activity and the effects of chocolate on antioxidant markers in vivo. Frontiers in Immunology. 2017;8:1207. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01207/full
6. De Kruif C. Skim milk acidification. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 1997;185(1):19-25. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0021979796945488
7. Riaz M. Healthy baking with soy ingredients. Cereal Foods World. 1999;44:136-139. https://www.academia.edu
8. Di Renzo L, Cioccoloni G, Bernardini S, et al. A hazelnut-enriched diet modulates oxidative stress and inflammation gene expression without weight gain. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6637671/
9. Sorond FA, Lipsitz LA, Hollenberg NK, Fisher ND. Cerebral blood flow response to flavanol-rich cocoa in healthy elderly humans. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2008;4(2):433-440. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2147/ndt.s12160229
10. Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Després J-P, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease risk. Circulation. 2010;121(11):1356-1364. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/circulationaha.109.876185
11. Palant A, Koschack J, Rassmann S, Lucius-Hoene G, Karaus M, Himmel W. “And then you start to loose it because you think about Nutella”: The significance of food for people with inflammatory bowel disease-a qualitative study. BMC Gastroenterology. 2015;15:1-11. https://link.springer.com/article
Next, check out some recent reviews you might find useful: