Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Nutella Bad For You?



Short answer

Yes, Nutella is bad for you. It may be one of the best selling spreads in the world (one sold per 2.5 seconds), but it is also very dangerous to your health when eaten regularly.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Did you know that Nutella is giving away free money? Well, not exactly - but according to terms of a lawsuit which Nutella lost - if you bought a jar of Nutella between January 2008 and February 2012, you are entitled to a refund. Anytime a company gets sued and ends up being required to give a refund is a big clue that the product they're selling may not be so great for your health. So, what makes Nutella so bad for you? 

First, of course, is the sugar. In just two tablespoons, there are 21 grams of refined sugar. In addition to the risk of obesity and diabetes that comes with consuming globs of refined sugar, Nutella also has a high amount of fat - 11 grams per serving (two tablespoons) with 3.5 grams being saturated fat. This combines with sugar to elevate the risk of heart disease and stroke. 
Perhaps the two most dangerous ingredients in Nutella are ones that many people just glance over - soy lecithin and vanillin. Soy lecithin is a soy product and as such is a GMO. It has been implicated in such problems as thyroid dysfunction, obesity, constipation - and even breast cancer. Vanillin, on the other hand, is a cheaply produced chemical made to mimic the flavor of true vanilla. Not only does it contain MSG, but is also considered highly addictive, as it sparks the brain to release serotonin when consumed. Trace amounts of neurotoxins are also found within vanillin, meaning the stuff has the potential to kill brain cells. 

If there is anything good to say about Nutella, it is that it contains hazelnuts. Hazelnuts contain flavonoids such as proanthocyanidins that are good for the brain and blood circulation. Still, hazelnuts are high in calories (relatively speaking with regard to size) - and present in a small amount in a jar of Nutella. Also, hazelnuts do not reverse any of the damage caused by refined sugar, fats, soy lecithin, or vanillin.

Possible short-term side effects

  • blood sugar spike
  • constipation

Possible long-term side effects

  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • heart disease
  • breast cancer
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver
  • brain damage (not likely, but possible)

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

  • homemade, dark chocolate spread
  • raw organic vegan cocoa bliss
  • peanut butter

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

  • Organic cocoa content
  • No stir convenience
  • Gluten-free spread
  • Responsibly sourced
  • Deliciously nutty flavor
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 02-22-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 02-22-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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