October 3, 2013 12:04 pm
Updated: October 3, 2013 9:07 pm

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

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

Francis Vachon / The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, says that the hazelnut spread has less sugar stacked next to other condiments, such as jams and honey.

Just days after Canadian doctor Yoni Freedhoff posted a video explaining to viewers what he measured in two tablespoons of Nutella, the company provided its response to Global News.

Story continues below

“Nutella has been a staple food in Europe for 50 years and in Canada, over 40 years. It is a widely-appreciated product by consumers worldwide,” Allan Cosman, president and CEO of Ferrero Canada, said in an email.

He says that nutritionists are “guided by the principle that there are no good foods or bad foods, but rather, good diets and bad diets.”

Freedhoff used two tablespoons of Nutella to spread over toast in his demonstration – he said it contained five hazelnuts, some cocoa powder, whey powder, skim milk powder, palm oil and 5.5 teaspoons of sugar.

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

Cosman says two tablespoons is twice the serving size recommended on the Nutella label.

“In this context, the premise that the demonstration is based upon is a gross exaggeration, as are the conclusions,” Cosman wrote.

Freedhoff said he used two tablespoons after he asked friends how much they typically use when they eat Nutella.

“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 in the video.

Freedhoff posted the video Monday in his blog Weighty Matters. So far, the post was shared at least 6,000 times.

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

Ferrero also says that scientists worldwide suggest that the human brain needs 130 grams of glucose to function daily. One tablespoon of Nutella has about 11 grams of sugar, 100 calories and six grams of fat, according to its website.

Still, Freedhoff said some no-name frosted icings had fewer calories and less sugar than Nutella, spoon for spoon. He said two tablespoons are equivalent to five Oreos.

Nutella’s own “build your own breakfast” option shows consumers what’s comparable to a breakfast with toast and the hazelnut spread. To clarify, in Canada the suggested serving on the label s one tablespoon, in the U.S., it’s two. Ferrero says it’s “moving towards filing a petition with the FDA to enable use of the global Ferrero one tablespoon serving size.”

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

Vancouver-based obesity expert and Global National health specialist, Dr. Ali Zentner, said that for her, the bottom line is that kids shouldn’t be eating chocolate for breakfast.

“You can’t ignore the fact that this is indeed a chocolate spread. Show me a kid who puts one tablespoon of Nutella on his breakfast,” she said.

“I run an obesity-based practice, I see a lot of diabetics. I try to get my patients to not use honey and jam and chocolate spreads on their breakfasts in the morning,” she told Global News.

Ferrero told Global News that nutrition education and lifestyle modifications are what staves off obesity and other chronic disease.

Consumers should be eating only about 20 grams of refined sugar in their diets, Zentner said.

“Additionally, it is important to note that the amount of sugar per suggested serving size of Nutella is less than that of many other breakfast spreads, such as jams and honey,” Cosman said in his written statement.


© 2013 Shaw Media

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.