Ah, Nutella. What’s not to like? Whether you spread it over toast, mix it into a cake or eat it directly from the jar with a tablespoon like its makers Ferrero (probably) intended, this chocolate spread delightfully boosts breakfasts and makes snacks succulent all over the globe.
This explosion of chocolate is tempered by the subtle flavors of hazelnut, and as you might already, hazelnuts (along with a few other types of nut) are pretty good for your overall well-being, helping to reduce cholesterol and generally acting as an awesome source of fibre, vital for the effective operation of your digestive system.
But that isn’t to say that Nutella could be classified as anything close to what you’d call a health food. In fact, an image from deep inside the bowels of Reddit has gone viral for showing us exactly what goes into everyone’s favorite sugary spread. Brace yourselves, this might not make for pretty reading.
For more, let’s go to Redditor Mr Flow, whose image has spread like wildfire on the website, earning thousands of upvotes and alerting the internet at large as to why you probably shouldn’t eating the spread at such a ravenous rate.
As you probably could have guessed, the majority of the ingredients in your average jar of Nutella are nothing to write home about. Cocoa powder, hazelnuts, sugar and skim milk powder; all things you’d expect to see in a chocolate spread, and all part of what makes Nutella delicious. What is alarming, though, is the proportion of the ingredients in the chocolate-hazelnut spread.
If you’ve got a jar of Nutella handy, you’ll notice (via the nutritional information) that a 15-gram tablespoon of the spread will on average have around 8.5 grams of sugar. The math nerds among you will note that this means sugar makes up more than half of Nutella, and when you apply that ratio to a 400-gram jar of Nutella, that’s effectively 227.2g of sugar – about 75 sugar cubes of the stuff.
But another huge reason you should probably drastically lower your weekly Nutella intake sits at the top of the jar in that viral image above.
Making up 20 percent of your average jar, palm oil reportedly gives Nutella its smooth texture as well as its impressively long shelf life, but the ingredient has come under fire after a report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) declared palm oil to be the most carcinogenic of all the oils.
In the wake of these allegations, however, Nutella’s manufacturers Ferrero have denied that Nutella is a cancer risk (claiming it uses palm oil that is safe to eat). In a statement, they also reiterated their belief that the spread can be enjoyed “as part of a balanced diet”, while refusing to confirm or deny the image making the rounds online.
“We don’t disclose the full proportions of the ingredients in Nutella as our recipe is unique and we wish to safeguard this. The product’s label provides simple and clear nutritional information per 15g portion, or two heaped teaspoons, as well as per 100g.
“The ingredients are also listed on the Nutella website. One of Ferrero’s core nutritional beliefs is that small portion sizes help people to enjoy their favourite foods in moderation. The labelling on our products enables consumers to make informed choices and helps ensure that Nutella can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.”
While the jury is still out on the wider long-term consequences of eating Nutella, perhaps it’s best that you significantly cut down on the amount of Nutella you eat on a daily basis, if for no other reason than all the sugar. If there remains a huge chocolate-spread-shaped hole, you could probably try making some for yourself at home. I’m sure it’ll taste just as good.