Nutella is delicious—this much everyone knows to be true. It’s ultra-creamy and chocolatey and that slight bitterness of hazelnuts behind it all just makes it the ultimate confectionery spread. But we’ve been convinced that it’s an appropriate thing to spread on toast and serve for breakfast, and that’s simply not the case. A recent graphic released by the consumer center in Hamburg, Germany, has shown us the ugly truth about Nutella: It’s not healthy at all.
In fact, Nutella is downright awful for us, and the planet to boot. Aside from the fact that the first ingredient is sugar (and in the graphic breakdown, boy is that a damning pile of white stuff), Nutella also contains palm oil, and this is a very bad thing.
Palm oil is beloved by snack and shelf-stable manufacturers because it stays solid at room temperature, unlike many other fats and oils. Unfortunately, palm oil is also overwhelmingly harvested from what should be protected lands in fragile ecosystems like Indonesia and India. The farming of palm oil has resulted in massive environmental damage and the destruction of huge swathes of wildlife habitat for endangered species, including rhinos, elephants and tigers.
Aside from this truly grim thought, it appears that Nutella has used a misleading ad campaign to convince harried parents that yes, it’s chocolate, but it’s also healthy and perfectly acceptable to feed your kids first thing in the morning. Sadly, this is just not the case, and I personally feel tricked.
Though the ingredient list is short (just the five ingredients pictured in the graphic), this clearly doesn’t mean healthful. According to to the nutrition facts, Nutella has 21 grams of sugar per 37 grams of spread—about two tablespoons. What does this mean? It means that more than half of those two tablespoons of delicious, delicious Nutella is made of sugar—56.7 percent, to be exact.
Ferrero, the company that makes Nutella, released a statement advocating small portion sizes in order to enjoy the spread.
“One of Ferrero’s core nutritional beliefs is that small portion sizes help people to enjoy their favorite foods in moderation. The labeling on all our products enables consumers to make informed choices and helps ensure that Nutella can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet,” the statement read in part.
All I can say is this: If an elephant had to lose its home for me to eat mostly sugar by the spoonful, I’ll find a way to make my own Nutella at home.