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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Nutella Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

Is Nutella Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: June 23, 2023
10 min read 1062 Views 0 Comments
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We take a look at the hidden ingredients in Nutella and how they could be harmful to your health.

is nutella healthy

A chocolate hazelnut spread can sound delicious and tempting. 

You might include it in your weekly shopping list, not knowing how it was made or what ingredients give it that sweet taste. 

Nutella is one brand that attracts people to its unique flavor. You can use it as a dessert spread or smother some on breakfast toast in the morning.

Keep reading to discover the risks and benefits of eating Nutella and hidden ingredients you don’t know about.

Is Nutella Healthy? 

No, this hazelnut chocolate spread is not healthy at all. It contains too many unhealthy ingredients that could harm your health in the long term. Some of them include palm oil, sugar, and saturated fat. 

The amount of added sugar, refined oil, and saturated fat in Nutella can damage your body and cause long-term health issues like diabetes and obesity. Therefore, eating this spreadable confection won’t offer any health benefits. 

Nutella might be a delicious spread, but you need to view it as a treat. You should avoid it completely if you want to follow a healthy diet. A high sugar intake in the morning will spike blood sugar levels and leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day. 

People wanting to follow a balanced diet should avoid Nutella and only focus on making low-calorie spreads.

What Is Nutella? 

Nutella is a brand of hazelnut chocolate spread that was first invented by the Italian company Ferrero in 1964. The sweet spread is a combination of skimmed milk powder, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, palm oil, and sugar, which aren’t the healthiest of ingredients. 

This popular chocolate hazelnut spread has a creamy consistency that makes it perfect for a dessert topping. Some people use Nutella to coat foods like toasted bread, bagels, or plain croissants, while others may add the chocolate paste to a thick brownie and cookie mixture. 

You should know that Nutella doesn’t actually contain chocolate. The cocoa beans give it that distinct flavor when ground up with sugar and hazelnuts. If you like Nutella but are concerned about your health, it’s best to choose dark chocolate, which contains less sugar and oil. 

How Is Nutella Made? 

The process of making Nutella begins with drying cocoa beans for 10 days. They are roasted to remove any butter before being crushed. Raw hazelnuts are also roasted and then mixed with pure cocoa, added sugar, skim milk, and palm oil to make a thick paste.

Nutella has a similar manufacturing process to regular chocolate spread. This mainly involves drying and roasting the nuts to ensure they’re suitable for making a blended puree. Cocoa butter derived from the roasted cocoa beans gets transferred elsewhere for another use. 

Most ingredients are assessed by quality control. It’s important to identify bad nuts to maintain the look and taste of this popular spread. A large tank is responsible for most of the mixing once sugar, vanillin, skim milk, and palm oil are added to the cocoa powder and hazelnuts.

What Are the Ingredients of Nutella?

You should learn about the ingredients in Nutella to understand how it can be bad for your health. This is especially important for people who want to build a balanced diet and lose stubborn weight

Here are some of the main ingredients found in Nutella: 

Sugar

Nutella is very high in refined cane sugar, which has been linked to heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes. This serves as a replacement for high-fructose corn syrup and sugar alcohols. It’s believed that two tablespoons of this spread contain 21.6 grams of sugar and 11.9 grams of fat. 

Palm oil 

Palm oil is one of the main ingredients in Nutella, which is usually considered bad. This oil is high in trans fats and has been linked to high LDL cholesterol. People who have more triglycerides in their bloodstream have a greater risk of getting heart attacks in the future.

Additionally, palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that has a lower cost of production. This is one of the main reasons why most manufacturing companies use it. Refined oils are high in saturated fats and can trigger blood pressure spikes or heart problems. 

Hazelnuts 

The company that owns Nutella stated that there are at least 50 hazelnuts in each jar. Some people might believe this is good, but most of the unhealthy ingredients outweigh these nuts. You can never find healthy Nutella because it is full of added sugar and modified palm oil. 

Aside from that, eating hazelnuts on their own can offer benefits. A study found that hazelnuts contain good fats and antioxidants that reduce inflammation in your body. 

Other ingredients 

Nutella has more ingredients that people often miss when reading the label. Below are some other components that make this popular spread. 

  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Vanillin
  • Cocoa powder 
  • Soy lecithin 

Nutella Label

Nutella nutrition
Walmart.com

3 Benefits of Nutella 

Although Nutella is undeniably delicious, it is primarily a sweet and indulgent spread. There are some ingredients in Nutella that are nutritionally beneficial, like hazelnuts and cocoa, but it also contains high amounts of sugar and palm oil. The health benefits of Nutella are therefore limited.

However, there are a few positive aspects to consider:

#1 Hazelnuts contain healthy fats and fiber

Nutella contains hazelnuts, which provide healthy fats, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. As well as being heart-healthy, hazelnuts can lower cholesterol levels and provide antioxidants.

#2 Cocoa is rich in antioxidants

Nutella contains cocoa, which is rich in flavonoids. It is believed that flavonoids have anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits, as well as being beneficial to overall health.

#3 A versatile spread to suit any taste

While Nutella is not considered a healthy food, it is still permissible when consumed in moderation. You can use it for dipping fresh fruit or spreading a thin layer on whole grain toast to add flavor and indulgence.

It is important to consume Nutella in moderation due to its high sugar and calorie content. Rather than being a regular dietary staple, it should be treated as an occasional treat.

It is possible to find spreads with similar flavors with a lower sugar content and healthier ingredients. For optimal health, read labels, make informed choices, and maintain a balanced and varied diet.

Side Effects of Nutella 

There are many downsides to eating this spreadable confection. Remember that just a tablespoon serving (18 grams) of Nutella contains around 100 calories, 10 grams of added sugar and 6 grams of fats. 

Below are some side effects of consuming too much Nutella:

#1 High blood sugar levels

Most people like to eat Nutella in the morning with normal or French toast. A high sugar intake can quickly spike your blood sugar, especially in those who have diabetes. This can lead to poor concentration, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, nausea, migraines, loss of consciousness, and even a heart attack. 

#2 Weight gain 

Nutella contains a high amount of calories that could contribute to body fat. Your metabolism cannot burn through those calories, so your body has to store them somewhere else. Most of the time, this fat congregates around your stomach, hips, arms, or face, depending on your diet. 

#3 Poor gum health 

A study found that sugary foods increase the risk of gum disease. This is because sugar attracts bacteria to your gums and encourages them to destroy protective barriers. Added sugar essentially rots teeth, so it’s important to limit how much you have to prevent diseases like gingivitis. 

#4 High LDL cholesterol 

Low-density lipoprotein is a type of bad cholesterol that builds up in your arteries and causes high blood pressure. It mainly derives from a diet rich in saturated fats and sugars. Too much LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream can put you at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Nutrition Facts of Nutella 

Learning more about Nutella can help you understand why it may be unhealthy. 

Here is the nutritional information for 100 grams of Nutella

Nutella
Desserts
is nutella keto
Not Keto Friendly
Key nutritional facts (per 100g):
Net carbs
57g
Total carbs
62.4g
Fats
29.7g
Protein
5.41g
Calories
539
Glycemic Index
33
Fiber
5.4g
Sugars
54g

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103964/nutrients 

High in calories 

Nutella contains too many calories that could promote weight gain. This might slow down your weight loss journey and even damage the heart. It’s better to eat this spread in very moderate amounts and monitor how many calories you eat if you want to prevent weight gain on a diet. 

You can use a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to lose and maintain weight. The average maintenance calories for women is 2,000, and for men, it’s 2,500. If you want to lose body fat, remove 300–500 calories from your daily intake. 

Low in proteins 

People looking to build muscle and try strength training may not benefit from eating Nutella. This is because of the low protein content, which won’t support muscle growth. Instead, focus on eating more high-protein foods like chicken, Greek yogurt, eggs, lean beef, and smoked salmon.

To support muscle growth, aim to eat at least 100 grams of protein a day. 

High in saturated fats 

Saturated fats are responsible for weight gain and other health issues like high blood pressure. Unfortunately, this spread contains too many of these bad fats. Eating Nutella continuously could damage heart functions and increase the amount of LDL cholesterol in your arteries. 

High in added sugars

There are too many added sugars in Nutella for it to be considered healthy. Sugar increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure. You should avoid this chocolate and hazelnut spread if you want to stay healthy and prevent excess body fat.  

Peanut Butter vs. Nutella 

Here is a comparison between peanut butter and Nutella: 

 NutellaPeanut butter
IngredientsSugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, skimmed milk powder, fat-reduced cocoa, lecithins (soya), and vanilla extract Ground peanuts, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil 
TasteSweet chocolate and hazelnut Salty, sweet, nutty 
OriginPiedmont, Italy Missouri, St. Louis 
Serving Usually spread on toast or added to desserts as a topping Works best on bread or bagels 
Calories per 100g539632
Protein per 100g5.4124
Total fats per 100g29.7349.4
Net carbs per 100g56.9616.4
Sodium per 100g41mg 221mg 
Cholesterol per 100g0

Sources: Nutella, Peanut Butter

Homemade Hazelnut Spread Recipe 

Nutella contains too many unhealthy ingredients like preservatives and trans fats. You should make this type of spread at home if you want to fuel your body with good nutrients. Just remember to use the most natural ingredients possible and eat the spread in moderation.

Here is a vegan homemade hazelnut spread recipe: 

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups roasted or raw hazelnuts (unsalted) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ⅔ cup dairy-free 70% dark chocolate 

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/176ºC and put the unsalted hazelnuts onto a baking sheet. 
  2. If you have raw hazelnuts, roast them for 12–15 minutes until golden brown. You can also cook roasted ones for 8–10 minutes to loosen the outer layers. 
  3. Remove hazelnuts from your oven and let them cool for a few minutes.
  4. Transfer them to a clean kitchen towel and gently roll the hazelnuts to remove the skins. 
  5. Get as much skin off as possible if you want a creamier spread. 
  6. Throw the excess skin away and put the hazelnuts in a blender for 8–10 minutes. This should turn into a buttery mixture. 
  7. Put that mixture to the side and start heating the dark chocolate. You can do so by adding small pieces into a saucepan or microwaving them in 30-second bursts. 
  8. Add the vanilla extract, sea salt, and melted dark chocolate to the hazelnut mixture. It’s best to add small amounts at a time to ensure everything is well incorporated. 
  9. Give it a taste to see if you need more seasonings. 

For more healthy recipes, consider searching through the best nutrition apps. You can find easy meal ideas that don’t require too much preparation and time. Some of these apps may include low-calorie chocolate recipes that taste similar to hazelnut spread or common sweet desserts. 

FAQs 

Is Nutella considered chocolate?

Although Nutella is chocolate-flavored, it is not considered pure chocolate. It is a hazelnut and chocolate spread, even though it is mostly made of sugar and oil.

Is Nutella good for weight loss?

No, you should not eat Nutella while trying to lose some weight. This is because it’s high in calories, saturated fats, added sugar, and carbohydrates. Eating Nutella spread on a weight loss diet can contribute to body fat production and even stop you from losing weight completely.

Is Nutella fattening?

Yes, Nutella is a fattening spread and should be avoided. Treating yourself to this cocoa and hazelnut spread so often won’t harm your health. However, eating too much can increase the risk of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

A Word From a Nutritionist

There are plenty of store-bought spreads that won’t benefit your long-term health. This is due to added sugar, refined oils, saturated fats, and chemical preservatives. You should avoid most chocolate spreads if you plan on losing some weight or building a balanced diet to stay healthy.

Instead, treat yourself to dark chocolate. It’s believed that 70% or more of dark chocolate is good for diabetes. Snacking on this sweet product every now and then is better than a sugary spread, so it’s worth finding alternatives that won’t damage your heart or cause certain health problems.

Remember that added sugar will never be good. No matter how much you love a spreadable breakfast topping, it can never benefit your body. Consider trying healthy treats like Yoplait yogurt, apple slices with peanut butter, strawberries, and almonds to satisfy your cravings.

Conclusion

Nutella, being a high-in-sugar spread, is not healthy for you.

Consider making a low-calorie version at home or only eat this hazelnut confection in very moderate amounts. You can treat yourself to sweet goodies, but remember that fatty products aren’t suitable for a weight loss diet.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: June 23, 2023
10 min read 1062 Views 0 Comments
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