October 1, 2013 12:50 pm

How much sugar is in Nutella? Canadian doctor decodes what’s in the hazelnut spread

Nutella Hazelnut spread products are seen in a Metro grocery store in Quebec city March 4, 2009.

Francis Vachon / The Canadian Press

TORONTO – It’s smooth and sweet and one of the tastiest toppings to put on your morning toast, but is it healthy for you? If Nutella is a morning breakfast staple in your kitchen, you should probably stop reading this story.

A Canadian doctor is sounding the warning bells about the chocolate hazelnut spread, showing viewers in a new video just how much sugar goes into two tablespoons.

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His answer: five hazelnuts, some skim milk powder, whey powder and cocoa powder, about a half teaspoon of palm oil and 5.5 teaspoons of sugar, “which is an amazing feat,” Dr. Yoni Freedhoff adds.

“Make no mistake, Nutella is spreadable candy. It is not healthy, breakfast does not love it. You might love it, but this does not help to make a nutritious breakfast fun, it helps to make a nutritious breakfast non-nutritious,” Freedhoff said.

He’s a leading obesity expert and physician at the University of Ottawa and Bariatric Medical Institute. The video was posted Monday in his blog, Weighty Matters. It’s already been shared more than 3,200 times.

Watch the video here.

To put it in perspective, Freedhoff stacks five Oreo cookies on top of a piece of toast – that’s the equivalent of the amount of sugar in the spoonfuls of Nutella.

Read more: Preschoolers’ eating habits linked to future heart health risks, Canadian study suggests

After reading a magazine and finding an advertisement for Nutella, he decided to unravel what’s in a spoonful of the supposed addition to a healthy breakfast. His findings are based on the ad suggesting there are 94 hazelnuts in a jar and the nutrition facts panel on the product.

It’s smooth and sweet and one of the tastiest toppings to put on your morning toast, but is it healthy for you? If Nutella is a morning breakfast staple, you should probably stop reading this story.

(Global News graphic)

“There are literally no name frosted icings that have fewer calories and less sugar than Nutella does spoon for spoon,” Freedhoff said.

He’s hoping that parents are wising up to what’s being sold to them as healthy.

“I don’t think there are many parents out there who would want to spread chocolate icing on their kids toast in the morning for breakfast, but I think there are plenty that feel that doing so with Nutella is somehow okay,” he said.

Read more: 5 tips for packing healthy, kid-friendly back to school lunches

On its website, Nutella says each tablespoon has 100 calories, six grams of fat and 11 grams of sugar.

“Canadian parents tell us that mornings are tough. Nutella can be part of the solution to the often challenging morning routine by adding a touch of joy to everyday breakfast,” the website reads.

A spokesperson responded to Global News on Wednesday evening. Read Ferrero’s comments here.

Read more: Nutella-maker calls doctor’s video on sugar content a ‘gross exaggeration’

In April 2012, Ferrero, the makers of the chocolate and hazelnut spread, lost $3 million in a class action lawsuit filed by a California mother. She said she was “shocked” to learn the spread she was feeding her husband and child wasn’t healthy.

Read more: What you should be eating to lower your blood pressure

Ferrero agreed to pay $4 per jar to American consumers that joined the settlement.

Kraft is also promoting its own Philadelphia chocolate spread. “Spread it on toast as part of a complete breakfast,” it says on its website.

The website boasts a claim that the spread has “half the sugar and calories of the leading hazelnut spread (per 1 tbsp serving).”

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

© Shaw Media, 2013

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