Time to wake up to Nutella?

Hazelnuts

There might be some ingredients missing from this picture...

I love Nutella. There is always a jar in my cupboard, ready to spread on bananas, toast, or just to be eaten with a spoon. But until now I hadn’t considered the health benefits of this alleged ‘food’.

Luckily there’s a new ad campaign that has helped me to see the light. According to the recent Nutella adverts, it’s practically a health food. Each 15g serving contains ‘two hazelnuts, skimmed milk and a dash of cocoa’. I had no idea Nutella was so nutritious!

But on further consideration that factoid seems to be missing some vital ingredients… the sugar and the fat, which are the first two ingredients on the list. 15g of Nutella contains about 4.7g of fat, making the spread about one third fat overall.  I guess the fact they use skimmed milk is pretty irrelevant then.

If you think I’m over-reacting then just be glad I haven’t gone as far as one woman in California, who is suing Ferrero, the company that makes Nutella. She says their over-hyped health claims mean they should pay compensation to anyone who bought the product in the USA after January 2000. Sadly this counts me out of any massive sums that I could then use to buy more Nutella, but the whole thing does make you wonder.

I was pretty shocked at the UK adverts – simultaneously horrified that the company thought anyone would be convinced by them, and also that they were being so misleading about their product. You’d have to be pretty naïve and/or stupid to believe that Nutella really is a health food, but surely they’re not having so much trouble selling the stuff that they need to resort to this.

A similar ad was run back in 2008, and got a frosty reception. Which? and 52 other people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, who decided that the ad ‘misleadingly implied the spread made a more significant nutritional contribution to a balanced breakfast than was the case’. They ruled that the ad shouldn’t be broadcast again in its current form. I assume some changes have been made to the current ad, but it certainly still seems to be pretty misleading.

According to Nutella’s own website, one 15g serving contains 7% of an adult’s guideline daily allowance of fat, and 9% of their sugar allowance. That’s quite scary. And while you obviously need some fat and sugar, making Nutella a daily part of your diet might not be the best choice (especially if you eat the amount I tend to as a ‘serving’).

Helpfully, the Nutella website also points out that toast with Nutella contains less fat and sugar than toast with butter and jam. So perhaps their slogan should be: ‘Nutella. Less bad than some other breakfast options’. It’s more accurate, but somehow I don’t think it’ll catch on.

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One Response to “Time to wake up to Nutella?”

  1. Toledo Web Design Says:

    Toledo Web Design…

    […]Time to wake up to Nutella? « The Science Bit[…]…

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