Food & Nutrition

Is Nutella healthy? We take an honest look at this popular hazelnut spread

Nutella jar

Published by Finn Hayden

Most of us love chocolate, and there are very few people who don't love Nutella - it's chocolate in spread form and can be spread on everything from toast to fruit.

It might seem obvious that a chocolate spread wouldn't be healthy, but Nutella is a bit different from your average chocolate spread - as the brand likes to remind us in almost all of its advertising, the spread is made using hazelnuts.

So is Nutella healthy? We wanted to try and answer that once and for all, so we decided to take a close look at Nutella to see how healthy it actually is. Let's get into it:

What is Nutella made from?

As we mentioned in our introduction, the marketing team at Nutella likes to make a big deal about how Nutella is made from hazelnuts - in fact, we were surprised to see that Nutella is described as a "hazelnut spread" rather than a chocolate spread in a number of places, including on the Tesco website.

Despite this, hazelnuts are still the 3rd ingredient listed in Nutella, behind sugar and palm oil. Each 350g jar of Nutella contains about 13% hazelnuts. But we do have to admit that we were surprised to see hazelnuts listed ahead of cocoa.

Nutella ingredients

We were also surprised to see that Nutella is made from just 7 ingredients as were expecting it to be packed with rubbish. To give Nutella some credit, there is a section on the Nutella website which explains what every single ingredient is and where it was sourced from. This is a lot more information than most brands provide.

We were also impressed to see extensive information on the Nutella website about where the hazelnuts used to make Nutella are sourced from, with all of them coming from Turkey, Italy, Chile, and the USA. We were also impressed to see that all that happens to the hazelnuts once they arrive at the Ferrero factory is they are slow-roasted and turned into a paste to be used in Nutella and other Ferrero products. This doesn't necessarily impact how healthy Nutella is, but it does impress us that the hazelnuts are not messed around with too much.

There is also information about the sugar, milk, and palm oil used in Nutella on the Nutella website. It's good to see that Nutella is committed to being transparent about how these ingredients are sourced, but we were a bit disappointed to see a lack of information about the quality of the ingredients themselves - for example, the section about milk gives no information about the cows used for the milk and whether or not they're grass-fed etc.

Lastly, it was quite impressive to see that Nutella is free from artificial colours and preservatives - the classic chocolate brown colour of Nutella is all-natural.

What are the nutritional statistics of Nutella?

Although we were impressed by the simplicity of the ingredients in Nutella, once you start looking at the nutritional statistics you start to realise that describing Nutella as healthy is definitely a stretch.

For starters, Nutella contains 56.3g of sugar per 100g. If you compare that to something like the Strawberry Jam from Tesco which contains 61.4g of sugar per 100g, then you might describe Nutella as a lower sugar alternative to other sweet spreads such as jam. But compare the sugar content of Nutella to other chocolate spreads on the market and you'll start to realise that it isn't particularly low - for example, the Chocolate Spread from Sweet Freedom contains just 37g of sugar per 100g, and we'd say it tastes just as good as Nutella (it won a Great Taste award in 2023).
Nutella nutrition

Aside from the sugar, the real downside of Nutella is the very high calorie count - Nutella contains a whopping 539 calories per 100g, which is more than double the number of calories you'll find in 100g of the Tesco Strawberry Jam (251 calories). This is also much more calories than you'll find in other chocolate spreads - again, the Sweet Freedom Chocolate Spread contains just 270 calories per 100g.

There are some positive aspects of the nutrition found in a jar of Nutella - because the spread contains hazelnuts, you actually get a nice bit of protein in Nutella. Nutella contains 6.3g of protein per 100g, whereas the Tesco Strawberry Jam contains just 0.3g of protein per 100g. Having a good amount of protein in Nutella is a big tick in our book because not only does protein provide a number of health benefits, but it can also help you to feel fuller (meaning you're less likely to eat an entire jar in one sitting).

What about other Nutella products?

Aside from the Nutella spread, there are some other Nutella products which are worth looking at - the Nutella B-ready bars actually proudly display the calorie count on the front of the box, which is 115 calories per 22g bar. Once again, we wouldn't exactly describe this as low in calories given how small the bars are - Milky Way bars are almost exactly the same size (21.5g each) and contain just 96 calories each. Milky Way bars also contain less fat than the Nutella B-ready bars (3.5g of fat in 1 Milky Way bar versus 5.6g of fat in 1 Nutella B-ready bar), but one positive is that the Nutella B-ready bars contain less sugar (10.4g of sugar in 1 Nutella B-ready bar versus 14g of sugar in 1 Milky Way bar), but we wouldn't describe it as a huge difference.

Nutella B-ready bars

So, is Nutella healthy?

Overall we'd say that Nutella can't be described as healthy. Although it has quite an impressive protein content, it is very high in calories and sugar compared to other chocolate spreads and other spreads like jam.

However, we do appreciate how simple the ingredients are and the lack of artificial ingredients.

What do you think of our guide? Do you agree that Nutella isn't really very healthy? Let us know in the comments!

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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