Vitality

Is Nutella Good For You? The Truth About The Popular Spread’s Nutrition

Nutella has captured the hearts and minds of many, so it’s easy to imagine people feel about it the same way they do about green eggs and ham: "It is so good, so good you see. … I will eat it anywhere."

They put the chocolate and hazelnut spread on toast, ice cream, waffles or anything else that could use a little sweetness. But that versatility is exactly what has become a key issue in its parent company Ferrero’s battle to get Nutella reclassified with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the BBC, Nutella is now considered a dessert topping, like syrups and marshmallow cream, but Ferrero wants it to be put into the same league as jam and honey. The difference is in the serving size: Dessert toppings are two tablespoons while jams are only one, and that affects what is listed on the product’s nutrition label, something that influences shoppers.

nutella Perhaps the most satisfying way to eat Nutella is on its own and straight from the jar. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Ferrero has pointed out that the classification as a dessert topping stems from an early 1990s consumer survey in which respondents said they used Nutella as such, mostly on ice cream. “But Ferrero says it is usually eaten on toast nowadays in smaller amounts,” the BBC says.

As a result, the FDA is asking Nutella eaters how much they eat of the spread at a time. It is considering “recognizing that ‘nut cocoa-based spreads’ fall within the ‘Honey, jams, jellies, fruit butter, molasses’ category” or creating a new, separate category for those spreads with a one-tablespoon serving size.

According to the FDA, a survey Ferrero commissioned showed that about 74 percent of Nutella usage was spreading it on toast or bread for a sandwich, with only 2 percent used on ice cream, and that the usual serving size was one tablespoon. Others eat it on its own.

The current serving size of two tablespoons is equivalent to 37 grams of Nutella, according to the product label. That amount is 200 calories and 21 grams of sugar and includes 18 percent of the recommended daily value of fat. Although its serving size is only one tablespoon, by comparison two tablespoons from a jar of Smucker’s strawberry jelly would contain about 92 calories and 22 grams of sugar. There is no fat in the jelly, according to its nutrition label.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that most moderately active adults have a daily calorie intake in the neighborhood of 2,000, with a mix of grains, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy. It calls for limited amounts of sugar, Nutella’s top-listed ingredient, and solid fats, which include its second listed ingredient palm oil.

 

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