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Nutella Is Popular, But Is It Healthy?

By Paul Rothbart

Originating in Italy during the Second World War, Nutella has been popular in Europe for decades. In recent years it has caught on in the U.S. Traditionally marketed as a dessert topping (it's manufactured by a chocolate company) it has become a bread spread that people use on toast and in place of peanut butter. The health benefits of peanut butter are well known. Nutella tastes good. Is it healthy too? Let's take a closer look.

What's In It?

Nutella has a simple list of ingredients. Its unique flavor comes from hazelnut paste and cocoa. It also contains skim milk powder, soy lecithin, and vanillin. Vanillin naturally comes from vanilla beans, but Nutella uses a synthetic variety. Its creamy texture comes from the addition of palm oil. A two-tablespoon serving contains 200 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of fat. It also has small amounts of protein, iron, and calcium. This is not much nutrition and many of the ingredients are bad for your health.


Nutella tastes sweet because it contains a large amount of sugar. A serving of Nutella contains more sugar than an equally-sized serving of chocolate cake frosting. Excess sugar can be very harmful. It has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and cognitive decline. It's especially bad for children as the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar a day and Nutella has 21 in a serving.

Calories and Fat

A serving of Nutella is small but contains 200 calories. Because people love its taste, many consume more than one serving at a time. Those calories add up fast. They provide little nutrition and can easily lead to being overweight or obese. 

Nutella is also heavy in unhealthy fats. One of its main ingredients, palm oil, is loaded with saturated fats. These can contribute to cardiovascular disease. While it is OK to consume some palm oil, it should be in small amounts. Given its popularity, the palm oil content of Nutella can easily reach an unhealthy level.

It Is Not A Peanut Butter Substitute

Nutella should not be used as a substitute for peanut butter or any other nut butter despite the hazelnuts in it. It does not have anywhere near the nutritional content of nut butters and is much higher in sugar and fat. 

Nutella has caught on worldwide with its creamy texture and sweet taste. Having some in moderation can be done without serious health damage. But it should be used as a dessert spread, just as it is marketed. Treat it like cake, candy, or any other sweet. Don't make it a regular part of your diet.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Diego, Calif.

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