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5 Reasons Nutella Should Be Banned From Your Breakfast Table


This post on Nutella has garnered a remakable amount of attention, mostly negative and mostly of the hate-mail-troll variety - so to all of you, welcome! And those of you who are actually looking for a reason to break this nasty habit, I hope to be able to help.

I have never been one to say to you 'eat this, don't eat that'. Well, actually, I'm sure I have now and again. My goal however is not to dictate what you should or shouldn't be doing in any aspect of your life, but to offer you some guidance to help you make the best possible decisions to help you live an optimally healthy life.

And so with that in mind, I will offer you this: Nutella is nutritionally void and shouldn't be at the breakfast table. Actually, it shouldn't be at snack time, lunchtime, after school or melted over your ice cream.

It's a shame because Nutella does such great work helping fund school lunch programs and bringing awareness to the number of kids going to school without breakfast, it's just a shame that these breakfasts include Nutella.

When a child's breakfast is made up of Nutella spread over white bread, or thrown into a tortilla with a banana, he or she is priming the brain and body for a crash. Breakfasts such as these will in no way support the learning or optimal behaviour.

High sugar intake first thing in the morning will spike blood sugar levels, resulting in a plummet mid morning and contribute to poor concentration, hyper activity and aggression.

This "hazelnut spread" that looks suspiciously like thick chocolate sauce (or a spreadable candy bar) is healthwashed to pieces as a healthy breakfast option for kids.  It's not breakfast, it's a dessert and a questionable one at that. Call a dessert a dessert and move on, or be sued!

In the United States, Ferrero, maker of Nutella, was sued in a class action lawsuit for false advertising that led some to believe that Nutella carries nutritional and health benefits, being touted as 'part of a nutritious breakfast'. They were sued for healthwashing! In April 2012, they paid $3 million to customers who were part of the claim. The settlement also required Ferrero to make changes to Nutella's labelling and marketing.

What exactly these changes were are unclear.

Nutella Ingredients

sugar, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skimmed milk powder, whey powder, lecithin, and vanillin

Nutritional Breakdown

Nutella contains 70% saturated fat and processed sugar by weight.  A two-tablespoon (37 gram) serving of Nutella contains 200 calories including:

  • 99 calories from 11 grams of fat (3.5g of which are saturated)
  • 80 calories from 21 grams of sugar

In addition, the spread contains 15mg of sodium and just two sad little grams of protein per serving. Now given that I am a huge advocate of fat fuelling your morning, the fat content in here wouldn't be a problem if it were from a clean source. Modified palm oil, however, is far from clean. It is one of the more toxic and damaging types of fats we can consume. And don't even get me started on that amount of sugar.

Two tablespoons of Nutella contain 21 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar.

There's no reason breakfast can't be both healthy and delicious, but serving up sugar, modified vegetable oils and processed chocolate in the morning just isn't the way to go.

Five reasons Nutella should be banned from your breakfast table:

1. The first ingredient is sugar

Sugar In NutellaDespite the lovely visual of hazelnuts tumbling across the screen in the television commercial, the first ingredient in Nutella is plain old, white, refined, most likely GMO sugar. Hazelnuts make their appearance after sugar and palm oil. If we were to name this spread appropriately, we might call it 'sugar palm oil spread', but that doesn't have the right ring to it. Unless you're choosing to hop off your health train while on holidays in Paris, there's no reason to choose Nutella for breakfast.

2. More sugar with your sugar?


I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you're probably not spreading Nutella on celery sticks. It's going on toast (probably the gluten-packed white kind) or crepes/pancakes (ditto). When the sugar from the refined carbohydrates meets the sugar from the chocolate spread, boom - there goes your energy and blood sugar balance for the day. Breakfasts such as these will in no way support the learning of children.

Nutella is a spreadable candy bar.

High sugar intake first thing in the morning will spike blood sugar levels, resulting in a plummet mid morning and contribute to poor concentration, hyper activity and aggression.

5 reasons to ban Nutella from the breakfast table #healthwashing via @meghantelpner

3. The second ingredient is modified vegetable oils.

You know how we feel about those, right? Vegetables don't make oil, which means these so-called "vegetable oils" need to go through a heck of a lot of processing in order to become Nutella.  We love fat, but it needs to come from natural, unprocessed sources, otherwise we are eating cancer-contributing refined oils that only serve to promote inflammation in the body and challenge our heart, liver, brain, endocrine and nervous systems to function efficiently.

In my book UnDiet I wrote the following:

These oils are highly processed and most commonly genetically modified, unless specifically labeled organic. Many of them, such as cottonseed and soy, carry loads of chemicals. The high heat processing destroys any nutrients that may naturally occur like vitamin E and omega-3 essential fatty acids. To make margarine the spreadable consistency people seem to dig, the oil must be hardened.


This is done by hydrogenation or bubbling hydrogen through the vegetable oil at high temperature, a process that enables it to be solid at room temperature. This is the same property that makes it perfect as frosting on cakes. When the carbon bonds are saturated with hydrogen, the product is called a saturated fat or a hydrogenated oil.

4. the whole package Is not in the jar.

Treats are awesome. There's nothing wrong with making something delicious and amazing and sharing it with your loved ones, especially when you're celebrating a special occasion. If you are actually looking for a healthy spread, Nutella is not it. You are better off running some hazelnut through your food processor and adding a little honey and pinch of salt. Toss in some cacao if you want the chocolate vibe. But check this comparison.

Nutella vs. Hazelnuts

Per 1 Tbs (19 grams)/ Approx 14 hazelnuts

Nutella: 100 / Hazelnuts: 94

Nutella: 1 gram / Hazelnuts: 3 grams


Nutella: 6 grams / Hazelnuts: 11.5 grams


Nutella: 11 grams
1 gram from Fibre
11 grams from Sugar

Hazelnuts: 3 grams
2 grams from Fibre
0.85 grams from Sugar

Vitamin E
Nutella: 10 % (RDI)
Hazelnuts: 42% (RDI)

Remember, the fat in hazelnuts is the really awesomely delicious brain-building and nervous system supportive variety.

5 reasons to ban Nutella from the breakfast table #healthwashing via @meghantelpner

5. There better options out there

Why start your day with processed chocolate spread when you can start it with amazing oatmeal or a smoothie or even pastured eggs? If your answer is "because it's delicious," that choice is yours, but your answer shouldn't be "because it's the healthy option."

Here are just a few awesome special occasion breakfast recipes:

If what you are seeking is the quick and easy,  I have loads more ideas here.

Better Than Nutella Chocolate Spread

Hemp Chocolate Spread

If you've read until here, hopefully you are feeling inspired to ditch the Nutella once and for all and give some alternatives a try. This is my favourite chocolate spread, which also works great as an icing on cake, muffins - anywhere you'd use Nutella.

Hemp Chocolate Spread

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Yield: 1 cup or 8 servings

First shared via the Academy of Culinary Nutrition is a dairy-free and nut-free nutella alternative.

  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ⅓ cup raw cacao
  • ¼ cup dry roasted hazenuts (omit for nut-free)
  • ¼ cup ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Make It Like So
  1. Process all ingredients together until smooth. Add more sweetener as desired to taste.

Originally posted here.


  • Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds are mostly fat and protein. The ratio of omega 3 to 6 is ideal as an anti-inflammatory agent and the easily digestible plant proteins make hemp seeds a superfood for brain health and nervous system nourishment.
  • Raw Cacao: Having less caffeine than its roasted counterpart, raw cacao lets us take advantage of the powerful anandamide, a plant chemical that translates as bliss in the brain. Combine that with the high antioxidant concentration and magnesium to help relax the smooth muscles of the body, and you'll be laughing at this goodness - literally!
  • Ghee or Coconut Oil: The medium chain saturated fats found in both ghee (clarified butter) and coconut oil are super brain fuel. These fats provide a steady flow of energy to the body and the brain that help us to feel energized in a calming way - without the spikes and crashes. As far as a spread goes, I also love that both ghee and coconut oil are relatively solid at room temperature, but sweetly melt when spread on warm bread or a muffin.
  • Raw Honey: Raw honey is my go-to sweetener of choice as it's available locally in Toronto, and is jam packed with anti-microbial phytonutrients, enzymes and B-Vitamins (or should I say bee vitamins?).

Get empowered! Enjoy this directory of Healthwashing resources that will empower you to understand food labels. Learn More

Note: Feature photo at the top of the post comes from this Mashable article. Possible the best thing on the internet. Original photo credit is Nutella. We're all confused about that.

15 Responses to “5 Reasons Nutella Should Be Banned From Your Breakfast Table”

  1. Thanks for explaining why Nutella isn't healthy so clearly. When you understand it's a lot easier to try another option (which you've also provided). Love your whole foods recipes!
  2. Nicole said… May 5, 2016
    Add to that very convincing list of reasons to steer clear of Nutella is the issue of where the palm oil comes from. Was it sustainably farmed or linked to deforestation and the near extinction of animals like the orangutan, tiger, elephant and rhino? Great post, thank you.
  3. Olga M Sacasa said… June 25, 2016
    I grew up eating Nutella in Germany during the 60's and stopped eating it for almost 20 years. I know how bad it is and love it. Your article has pushed me make this my last jar in the cabinet and will try your recipe. And, yes, it is a candy bar. I never thought of it as something nutritious. Thank you for helping kick this habit.
    • I like it as it tastes better than some chocolate bars. Now I know why my doctors said no on nutella. They do advertize it is better for you. No it isn' t. Won' t buy any more that is for sure.
  4. Mich said… June 29, 2016
    Ur post hits the right spot!!! Couldnt have written anything better as it covers everything!! Ppl dont want to see the -ve part as its delicious!
  5. Regina Lehotay said… July 6, 2016
    You don't mention the vanillin, lecithin, and whey - I hear they are awful too. Is that true? I am trying to find reputable sources to understand this all. You did a great job explaining the rest so I thought I would ask.
    • I wonder if those ingredients land in the product in some countries and not others. I didn't see them in the ingredient list I looked up. Lecithin is often derived from gentically modified soy and used as an emulsifier to keep the oil from separating. I address vanillin in this post about Soylent. And whey is a byproduct of the dairy industry and is prone to causing digestive upset or other allergenic responses in anyone who is sensitive to dairy.
  6. Omkiltom Hajjaj said… July 14, 2016
    Are the organic ones any better?? For example biona brand
  7. Acia said… August 31, 2016
    I have a couple of hard-core Nutella fans in the form of 4- and 7-year old daughters. They were introduced to it when we were staying at an all-inclusive hotel in Mexico - of all places - where it was a staple at the breakfast buffet. I refused to buy it for them when we returned from our trip, knowing the ingredients, but I wanted to share the alternative we came across at the local organic grocer. It's a brand called New World Natural Foods, and the only ingredients are organic hazelnuts and organic fair trade dark chocolate (which includes organic cane sugar, but one serving only has 4g of sugar, which is acceptable in my books). My kids love it, and although it's not quite as healthy as making your own, it's a good stand-in when you're in a pinch :)
    • Kristie said… October 13, 2016
      Thank you Acia! I will be looking for this tomorrow :) I would love to be able to swap this out for the evil Nutella I have at home :( And big thank you to Meghan too for enlightening me :) Very easy to understand.
  8. ADITYA said… September 26, 2016
    Great post exposing the truth behind this wicked product. I wouldn’t eat it even if given for free. I am appalled at how credulous people buy this product without much thought. If Sugar wasn’t bad enough, Palm oil loaded with Trans fats forms a major chunk of the composition in Nutella. The other seemingly salubrious ingredients aren’t any good either, Soy lecithin is deleterious to one’s thyroid health. It is saddening that Corporates are minting money out of people’s naïvete.
  9. Adam said… October 12, 2016
    Why is the most important thing not mentioned as the main problem? The calories... that's all that matters. Not the sugar, fat, etc. It's way too calorie dense. You are in fact doing a form of healthwashing yourself...
    • Of course calories count, but where they come from matters a whole lot more. You may be interested in reading more. Here's one article you may enjoy:

Before you post your comment, please note that I am unable to offer nutritional advice or recommendations via my blog.

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