Nutella Ingredient Review: Is the Popular Snack Unhealthy?

Nutella Ingredient Review: Is the Popular Snack Unhealthy?


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Nutella is one of the most popular and most well-known food products in the world. The brand advertises that it’s made with “7 carefully selected quality ingredients.”

But are there any questionable ingredients in Nutella like artificial flavors? What are the seven ingredients? Is the product healthy overall? And are there healthier alternatives on the market?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Nutella based on clinical studies to give our take on whether the popular spread is healthy or unhealthy.

We’ll share an interesting video that visually breaks down the ingredients in Nutella, and feature a video on how to make healthy Nutella at home.

Ingredient Analysis

Nutella ingredients

Sugar is the first ingredient in Nutella, as one would expect in any sweet, chocolate spread. 

One serving of Nutella provides 21 grams (g) of sugar and 19 g of added sugar.

We know from medical research that consuming added sugar in excess is associated with a range of negative health outcomes, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

We recommend avoiding added sugar as much as possible, and we consider 19 g of added sugar to be a large amount for one serving, especially considering that consumers are likely to eat more than one serving of Nutella at a time.

Skim milk is a relatively nutritious ingredient, but Nutella makes no reference as to whether the milk they use is sourced from grass-fed animals, so we’ll assume it’s not.

A medical review published in the Frontiers in Nutrition journal found grass-fed dairy products to be more nutritious than dairy from conventionally-raised animals.

Vanillin is a flavoring agent that’s found in vanilla beans but is typically derived from crude oil when used in manufacturing.

We consider this to be one of the safest flavoring agents, and while we generally recommend avoiding added flavoring, we can’t locate any medical studies suggesting that this ingredient is harmful.

Hazelnuts, palm oil, cocoa and lecithin are the remaining ingredients, and are nutritious. 

Cocoa in particular is rich in health-promoting phytonutrients, as we detailed in our review of Mr. Beast's chocolate brand Feastables.

Overall, while we consider it a good thing that Nutella uses mostly whole food ingredients, we consider the product to be relatively unhealthy due to the high quantity of added sugar per serving.

One of the most popular (and interesting) YouTube videos on the ingredients in Nutella has over 200,000 views, and is a visual representation of the ingredients that shows how much sugar is in a full jar:

Our Healthy Chocolate Spread Pick

Eliot’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is our top pick for a healthy Nutella alternative.

It has significantly less added sugar per serving than Nutella (2 g versus 19 g), and is free of flavoring agents. Eliot's has a simple ingredient list: roasted hazelnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, salt.

This is the healthiest hazelnut chocolate spread that we could locate after reviewing the ingredients in all of the popular options.

It’s also sold in a glass jar which is better for human health (no potentially endocrine-disrupting microplastics) and for environmental health in our opinion.

Interested consumers can check out Eliot’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread at this Amazon link.

Make Healthy Nutella At Home

A popular YouTube channel called “Downshiftology” has a video on how to make a healthy Nutella at home using whole food ingredients. The video is only 3 minutes long:

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We consider Nutella to be unhealthy.

It’s definitely not the worst snack product out there, and it’s good that the majority of the ingredients are whole foods. However, Nutella contains a relatively large amount of added sugar, and the milk appears to be sourced from conventionally-raised animals.

In our opinion, choosing a chocolate hazelnut spread with significantly less added sugar would be a healthier option than Nutella.

You can also make a Nutella alternative at home using easily-sourced ingredients, and we shared a video demonstrating the process in this article.