Fewer ingredients are better, right? At least a new Nutella ad wants us to believe that. “It’s 7 ingredients, and that’s it. Our recipe does not contain colorants nor preservatives. It’s this quality that makes Nutella so good. ” Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Let’s start with the absence of colorants and preservatives. It’s great, is not it? Yes of course, these two ingredients are pointless for nutritional purposes and can even be harmful. Except that… the ingredients that are used in Nutella are not beneficial for health either. No added value (except a lot of empty calories):
Sugar: First ingredient on the list, so the one used in largest quantities. The nutritional label reveals that more than half of a jar (in grams!) of Nutella is pure sugar. I suppose that nowadays it is not necessary any more to remind that refined sugar is not good for your health? Nutritional interest = zero.
Palm oil: Second largest ingredient. First, there is a negative impact on the environment (deforestation due to palm tree plantations). Second, because of its extremely high content of saturated fatty acids, palm oil is not a recommended source for fat. Moreover, production at high temperatures partially destroys nutrients. Almost a third of a jar of Nutella is made of fat (including fat from hazelnuts). Fill on third of a glass with oil, just to visualize! Nutritional interest = zero.
Hazelnuts (13%): It is rather amusing that a hazelnut spread contains only 13% hazelnuts, isn’t it? This is similar to putting 15 cherry tomatoes in a large green salad and calling it tomato salad… Moreover, the roasting process entails the loss of a significant amount of nutrients. Nutritional interest = very limited.
Fat-reduced cocoa powder (7.4%): Another processed ingredient (roasting the cacao bean and separating the powder from cacao butter) is a process that leads to nutritional loss. In addition the stimulating properties (central nervous system) are controversial. Nutritional benefit = reduced.
Emulsifier soy lecithin: Otherwise called phosphatidylcholine. It is an ingredient that has undergone chemical transformation (to break bonds between atoms). Nutritional interest = zero.
Vanillin: The aroma used in Nutella is not the one present in vanilla pods, but a synthetic aroma. In other words, a chemical copy of natural vanilla! Nutritional interest = zero.
What is the outcome of using several ingredients with zero nutritional interest (not to say harmful) ? Food with zero nutritional value. Potentially even problematic for health.
In my opinion the most disturbing is not even the product itself, but the carefully chosen marketing language to mislead an ill-informed public. In addition, at a macro-societal level it is worrisome to see the level of ignorance of consumers concerning nutrition that allows the very existence of this type of product and such kind of communication.
Never eat a sweet spread again? Not necessarily, but better know how to prepare it differently…
My recipe freely inspired by Nutella (7 ingredients also 🙂):
- 300 grams raw hazelnuts, soaked overnight
- 3 large tablespoons of raw cacao powder
- 3 large soft Medjool dates
- Almond milk (almonds + water, ideally homemade)
- Stevia (or agave syrup: beware, very high glycemic index, consume with moderation)
Grind hazelnuts in a food processor with S blade until oils are released (several minutes). Add all other ingredients and mix well. Add more or less almond milk for desired texture. Note: Even this recipe is to be consumed with moderation. Hazelnuts may be replaced by other nuts, such as pecan or brazil nuts.
PS: Although this is the second article on Nutella (HALL OF SHAME: MISLEADING NUTELLA ADVERTISING), it is not a campaign against Ferrero; it is rather an stand “for”: to highlight a misleading and deceptive marketing approach that contributes to consumers’ confusion and negatively impacts public health.
©The Vibrant Factory
About Stefan Lehner: Executive coach, Life coach, as well as nutrition coach & educator based in Paris, available worldwide. He previously worked in management in an international corporation. He loves to explore with the client his or her emotions, thoughts and limiting belief patterns, in order to shift towards a renewed outlook and jeopardizing his or her old certitudes. His credo in all coaching situations is empowerment and taking responsibility: become responsible for one owns choices, desires and acts.
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