Nutella was a pantry staple of mine for many years, until I started to learn more about nutrition and how to decipher labeled ingredients. In theory Nutella is pretty healthy, chocolate has been shown to release happy hormones in the brain along with other benefits. Hazelnuts are high in vitamin E, various minerals such as magnesium and essential fatty acids. Then there’s skim milk which many people have been led to believe is a healthy food for strong bones and teeth.
No wonder people are giving their children Nutella sandwiches for lunch, thinking it’s a healthy treat. But when you find out what’s really in that jar of chocolate hazelnut spread, you may think twice about eating Nutella.
What’s Really In My Nutella?
It’s no surprise that the number one ingredient in Nutella is refined sugar. A whopping 21 grams in 2 Tbs! This is equivalent to an Oh Henry bar or three lollipops.
There aren’t many people who would eat lollipops and candy bars for breakfast. One mother even sued the company for making claims that Nutella is a healthy whole food to feed her daughter.
On top of the heinous amount of sugar, they aren’t even using real sugar. Genetically modified sugar beets are a cheap sweetener that many big companies use to save money. Independent studies show major health implications from GMO “frankenfoods”, such as digestive problems, liver and kidney toxicity, and in the case of sugar beets, increased risk of diabetes.
Further Reading: Research Reveals How Sugar Causes Cancer.
Palm oil is a controversial ingredient as its production is unsustainable and destroying important and fragile ecosystems.
Though it is a healthy saturated fat (which is fine if consumed in moderation), the method of procuring it involves unsavory practices like massive deforestation, indigenous rights abuses and animal cruelty.
The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) states that the equivalent of 300 football fields of rainforest are cleared every hour to make way for more palm oil production.
This ubiquitous ingredient is present in nearly all processed food. A by-product of soy oil production, soy lecithin is used as an emulsifying agent.
Soy is another one of those pseudo health foods touted by the FDA to be part of a healthy diet. What they’ve failed to realize is nearly all soy is genetically modified, and it’s a substance with markedly high levels of xenoestrogens.
These xenoestrogens are part of the reason reproductive cancer rates are soaring, they can cause low levels of testosterone in men, early onset of puberty, thyroid problems and more.
The soy industry has to be one of the sneakiest out there. Nearly all commercial livestock in North America are fed GMO soy. We are only beginning to see the implications of this food in our society. Bottom line, soy is in most processed food, make your own goodies and you won’t have to worry about it.
Further reading: Find the truth about soy in my previous article.
Vanillin is an artificial flavoring agent made entirely from chemicals devised in a lab to trick your taste-buds into believing it’s the real thing.
Corporations save big money using fake additives like these. This chemical food is highly addictive, the excitatory qualities of vanillin throw your brain cells into overdrive, causing a short term boost in serotonin only to knock you to the ground ten minutes later. Vanillin is a neurotoxin and you are far better off using real vanilla.
A Few More Things To Pay Attention To
One of the oldest crops known to man, hazelnuts originated near the Black Sea. Today they’re grown commercially in Canada, U.S and Turkey. Hazelnuts are full of nutrients as I’ve mentioned in my post about the health benefits of nuts and seeds, but most often they are sprayed with pesticides. When buying hazelnuts try and source organic nuts free of pesticide contamination.
Although cocoa is very healthy, and I’ve already written a post about the health benefits of cocoa, in some cases, workers in the cocoa industry are paid next to nothing. So it’s best to buy organic and fair trade cocoa and chocolate. According to my research, Nutella does not use fair trade cocoa.
For decades, high milk consumption has been recommended for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures. But as time went on, its health benefits were questioned.
Many nutritional experts became cautious about milk, especially when consumed in large quantities. In this regard, read about the findings of this study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that provided additional evidence against large scale milk consumption.
Heard enough about all the junk in this “healthy” spread? Isn’t it a bit nuts to claim such a slew of industrial by-products and 12 chocolate bars worth of sugar per jar could ever be touted as a healthy breakfast or snack.
Especially to be pushing such a dishonest agenda towards parents of young children. Even if you love Nutella, try making your own! You’ll see just how easy it is to make a delicious chocolate hazelnut spread from real wholesome ingredients.