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Oh Nutella.

Nutella 1

Someone shared an image on Reddit claiming to show what goes into making a jar of Nutella.

 

The Reddit image shows the proportion of white sugar to the rest of the ingredients and claims it makes up more than half of Nutella's weight.

 

Nutritionist Catherine Saxelby, in 2011, put the sugar content of Nutella at 55 per cent and concluded Nutella was more sugar and fat than hazelnuts.

 

That's a lot of sugar any way you lick it.

 

Nutella, in its Australian website, puts it this way: 8.6 grams of sugar per tablespoon; plus another 8.8 g of carbohydrates. That 8.6 g of sugar in a tablespoon of Nutella is 10% of your daily intake.

 

Saxelby and other nutritionists have raised concerns on the sugar content since Nutella is marketed as a wholesome healthy spread.

 

Nutritionist Kristen Beck, speaking to news.com.au, said the biggest problem with Nutella is that it is still marketed as a wholesome healthy spread targeted at children - when it's clearly not.

 

"The thing about Nutella is that it has been marketed as a health food based on its' hazelnut and cocoa content. But the reality is, it contains way more refined white sugar than anything else and that's why it tastes so good. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants, and hazelnuts are healthy and contain healthy fats - but any benefit from these ingredients would be drowned out essentially by the sugar and palm oil content."

 

Another claim is that Nutella is over 30% fat - most of it the cheaper palm oil which a recent UK study asserts to have a cancer risk.

 

And in January this year, the European Food Safety Authority claimed palm oil was more of a carcinogenic than any other oil, and could lead to cancer.

 

Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, refuted the claim that the hazelnut chocolate spread carries cancer risks, stating that when consumed with a balanced diet Nutella is still perfectly safe to eat

 

In the United States in 2012, Ferrero had a class action suit against them on healthwashing*, leading to a $3 million payout and also agreed to change its marketing campaign, modify the Nutella label to state fat and sugar content on the front of the jar and create new television ads, and change the company website.

 

Its list of ingredients now is very revealing. On the label, it shows them in descending order by weight from the largest down to the smallest.

 

Nutritionist and dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan said that while she isn't surprised by the ingredient listing, she is concerned that people still might see the spread as 'healthy' because of the hazelnuts and greenery on the packaging.

 

"The image of healthy hazelnuts might skew the thinking of a consumer," Dr McMillan told news.com.au.

"Nutella is basically confectionery and not a food for everyday. It contains palm oil, and I would never buy any food with palm oil as ingredient."

 

*Healthwashing is introducing/marketing a product as being healthier for you than it actually is.

 

If you are worried about what goes in your food, check out one of our Virtual Supermarket Tour sessions. The next one is on 28 February. 

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