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Seriously Nutella?

nutella

The latest commercial on American TV channels says it’s a healthy food made of nutritious hazelnuts that is great for breakfast. “Are they serious?”, was my first impression.

Of course the dietitian in me wanted to get the facts. To put it into perspective, I decided to compare it to peanut butter. After all, they are both sweet nutty spreads.

For 2 tablespoons, they are similar in calories (190 calories for Nutella and 188 calories for peanut butter) and saturated fat (3 grams). Peanut butter has more of the other fats (the good ones), more protein, and more fiber.

But when you compare it to all the other foods you could have for breakfast, let’s say fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, or 100% whole grains, maybe it’s not that healthy after all.

The biggest problem does not lie in the numbers or the details, but in the illusion of the word healthy. When a food is labeled “healthy” or “light,” people get the impression that it’s free; that they’re actually doing their body a favor by eating it. In reality, they are exactly doing the opposite. Light cookies are worse than regular ones, because it’s more likely that you will eat more of the light–which are not that much better in terms of calories and fat to begin with–mindlessly.

My point is not to prove that I’m boring, strict, or can’t enjoy food. I love Nutella. I love its texture. But it’s not part of my daily healthy diet. And it’s certainly not part of my breakfast.

The message here is when you eat it–or any other food that claims to be healthy but deep down inside you know it’s not–kid yourself not. It’s a treat. Savor the taste. Enjoy the moment. But please, don’t tell me you’ve had enough healthy foods for the day.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nagla November 19, 2009, 3:02 pm

    I actually had the same reaction when I saw the commercial. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying it once in a while, but the claim that it is a “healthy” breakfast component concerns me. I wonder what my daughter’s reaction will be in a few years when she actually understands what she sees?

    • NourRD November 20, 2009, 11:40 am

      That’s exactly my point. Did you know that in 2006, 44 food companies spent $1.6 billion to market their products for children and adolescents? (Here’s the report: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/07/foodmkting.shtm) These ads were shown in movie theaters, TV, internet, product packages, and in stores. Some companies even have special edition snacks that feature characters such as spider man, superman, and so on. The amount of money spent on marketing fruits and vegetables doesn’t come anything close to this number.

  • Farah November 27, 2009, 7:54 pm

    It was interesting.. I was watching hte commercial the other day, and I listened to the words. The ad says ‘nutella helps my kids eat things that are good for them’
    Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky nutella people. They of course say that there is good stuff in it, but they don’t claim that its good for them, instead they stress that it helps their kids eat things like whole grain bread, and bananas (hmmmm a nutella and banana sandwich sounds soo good right now!)

  • NourRD November 27, 2009, 11:11 pm

    Thanks for the comment. There are FTC (Federal Trade Commission) rules on what they can or can’t say. But you get the point. You have to read the fine print or read in between the lines. You can eat Nutella every now and then, especially with bananas, but every day, not really.