Have we gone nuts?

nutellaThe other day I was browsing in our local shop while Mr Green chose a DVD. I idly picked up a jar of Nutella and was shocked to find it was advocating itself as part of a healthy, balanced breakfast.

I then noticed a magazine advert for the same products indicating that it could make up part of a kids healthy breakfast.

The advertising focused on the fact that each serving of nutella contains 2 whole hazelnuts, some skimmed milk and cocoa.

What it failed to point out is that the first ingredient of nutella is sugar. The second ingredient is vegetable oil …

While I completely agree that hazelnuts can make up part of a healthy diet, are great providers of some vitamins and minerals and are full of antioxidants I was horrified to find all this information about giving it to children on white toast for breakfast.

In order to get any real benefit from eating hazelnuts; you would need to eat more than two of them, and to get more hazelnuts through eating nutella, you would have to increase your sugar intake. In fact, a serving of 25gms of hazelnuts is recommended daily to protect the body from heart disease and cancer. By my calculations, you’d have to consume 29 hazelnuts (each one weighs 0.83 gms according to Nutella). You’d need to eat 200gms of the nation’s favourite hazelnut spread – That’s virtually an entire small jar!

The nutella website tell me the product is a low glycaemic food, but how can that be when the first ingredient is the white stuff? Nutella contains 10gms of sugar (that’s two teaspoons) per serving (a serving is 15-20gms depending on which site you read) and it’s recommended that four to six year olds have no more than 40gms of sugar per day.

In a society where there are more obese people than starving ones how do you feel about advertising something like Nutella to children as part of a healthy breakfast? I could accept it as an occasional treat with some health benefits, but not the best way to start the day…


  1. Small Footprints on March 30, 2010 at 1:21 am

    It’s so important to read labels because manufacturers do everything possible to make us believe their product is healthy and/or “green”. Reading a label is the only way to know if they are telling us the truth … and in many cases, they are not.

    I’m on a Whole Foods mission … no additives or unnecessary “added” things like sugar, high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils. It isn’t good for us and it isn’t necessary!

    Thanks for exposing these guys!!

  2. Mrs Green on April 3, 2010 at 9:50 am

    @Small Footprints: You’re right and the stuff on the front often highlights the ‘good bits’ and we need to read more to find out the truth. I find ‘low fat’ often means lots of sugar. And ‘no sugar’ means lots of artificial flavours!