Who didn’t love Nutella as a child? That chocolatey smooth texture which spreads so perfectly on any food. Contrary to what its manufacturers promoted for decades, Nutella is not a health food at all. With the exception of margarine, it’s the closest thing to spreadable junk food packed with sugar and one toxic ingredient in particular that has been linked with cancer.
Nutella was introduced in 1964 by the Italian company Ferrero who still manufactures the product, however they do have local manufacturers in many countries.
On their website Nutella claims “We choose only the freshest raw materials, carefully selected according to a sustainable sourcing and a great attention to their quality.”
Two moms took Ferrero to court over false advertising and won their case. Their goal was to get the maker of Nutella to admit that, contrary to its ads, the product is no more healthy than a candy bar.
Laura Rude-Barbato, mother of three took the maker of Nutella to court and won. Athena Hohenberg, a San Diego mother of a 4-year-old daughter also took the company to court.
Rude-Barbato said their television ad which claimed that “Nutella is made with simple, quality ingredients like hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of coco,” was false.
The company website still asserts: “when used in moderation with complementary foods, Nutella is a quick and easy tool to encourage kids to eat whole grains, such as whole wheat toast.”
Rude-Barbato fought back for truth in advertising and the maker of Nutella, Fererro USA awarded her $3.5 million – that’s anywhere from $4 to $20 per person.
Ingredient List Changed On Website To Deceive Consumers
What is interesting about the Nutella website is that they conveniently omit or distort ingredients on their website that are listed otherwise on the jar label. The website lists Nutella ingredients as “sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, milk, lecithin, vanillin.” They also claim they have no artificial flavors. On the actual label is a different story where ingredients are listed as:
“sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor”
Many consumers are now informed on the dangers of consuming milk, especially skim milk and sales of skim milk have decreased substantially in the last 5 years alone. But we wonder who made the decision to remove “skim milk” from the label and replace it with “milk”.
On their website Nutella completely fails to disclose that the type of lecithin in their formula is soy based. This is a common tactic used by those in the food industry to deceive consumers. Lecithin and Soy Lecithin are two different things. Lecithin is naturally found in the foods that most of us eat, yes. According to the Mayo Clinic and British Journal of Nutrition, there are vast differences between the two, though the food industry tries to confuse consumers with its play on words and marketing of the word lecithin. Soy lecithin is derived from soy and processed with toxic Hexane. Soy lecithin is impossible to produce without this process.
VANILLIN: AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR (MSG)
When most people see vanillin, they think…oh it has vanilla. However, this is likely one of the most harmful ingredients in Nutella. Scent and flavor of vanillin are nothing but chemicals. When we talk about actual real-life non-imitation vanilla flavor, what we’re really talking about is a bunch of molecules that are extracted from a vanilla bean.
The grandest chemical of all of these is vanillin. Sure, vanilla has plenty of other odor molecules, but vanillin is about 95% of the scent. And, thanks to technology, you can make it cheaply from petroleum and in a lab. The largest vanillin manufacturers in the world are in China and more than 90% of food products manufactured contain vanillin from China including Nutella.
The worst part of vanillin is that it contains unlabeled MSG. It is not a nutrient, vitamin, or mineral and has no health benefits. The part of MSG that negatively affects the human body is the “glutamate”, not the sodium. The breakdown of MSG typically consists of 78% glutamate, 12% sodium, and about 10% water. Any glutamate added to a processed food is not and can not be considered naturally occurring. Natural glutamate in plants and animals is known as L-glutamic acid. MSG Lurks As A Slow Poison In Common Food Items Without Your Knowledge and vanillin is one of them.
MSG has been proven to act as an excitotoxin which stimulates the reward system of the brain, so we think it tastes better (than it actually does) and consequently consume more.
There are a growing number of Clinicians and Scientists who are convinced that excitotoxins play a critical role in the development of several neurological disorders, including migraines, seizures, infections, abnormal neural development, certain endocrine disorders, specific types of obesity, and especially the neurodegenerative diseases; a group of diseases which includes: ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and olivopontocerebellar degeneration.
Palm oil is taken from the fruit of the oil palm tree. In May 2016 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had warned against a cancer risk by palm oil.
Other food producers such as the bakery king Barilla have banished palm oil from their products and Italy’s largest supermarket chain Coop boycotted the oil in its own products since the publication of the EFSA study last year, Ferrero stirs the advertising drum for palm oil.
The manufacturer of Nutella stated “If we were to produce Nutella without palm oil, we would produce a poorer substitute for the real product, which would be a step back,” says Ferrero Purchasing Manager Vincenzo Tapella.
Ferrero, however, is obviously concerned not only with the texture and taste of the popular spread. Palm oil has been included in Nutella since the invention in the 60s.
The use of palm oil in processed foods, its most widespread application in the United States, jumped sharply after government authorities took aggressive steps to reduce the trans fat content in processed foods. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that palm oil is second only to soybean oil in terms of worldwide popularity as a food oil.
In support of its warnings about the dangers of palm oil, the center cites two meta-analyses that show that palm oil raises blood cholesterol levels. A 1997 British analysis evaluated 147 human trials and concluded that palmitic acid, an active ingredient in palm oil, raised total blood cholesterol levels. A Dutch analysis, released in 2003, weighed data from 35 clinical studies and found that palmitic acid significantly increased the ratio of total cholesterol to so-called “good cholesterol,” a widely recognized risk factor for heart disease.
In a study published in a 1999 issue of “Plant Foods for Human Nutrition,” three Nigerian biochemistry researchers extol some of the nutrients found in fresh palm oil, but point out that the oil in an oxidized state can threaten physiological and biochemical functions of the body. They acknowledge that manufacturers of processed foods oxidize palm oil in their products for a variety of culinary purposes, meaning that much of the palm oil consumers eat is in an oxidized state. The dangers of oxidized palm oil include organotoxicity of the heart, kidney, liver and lungs, as well as reproductive toxicity, the researchers claim. Additionally, they note, oxidized palm oil can cause an increase in free fatty acids, phospholipids and cerebrosides.
Indonesia has achieved its goal of becoming one of the two largest palm-oil producers and exporters in the world. But at what cost?
At least half of the world’s wild orangutans have disappeared in the last 20 years; biologically viable populations of orangutans have been radically reduced in size and number; and 80 percent of the orangutan habitat has either been depopulated or totally destroyed. The trend shows no sign of abating: government maps of future planned land use show more of the same, on an increasing scale.
In Malaysia, peat swamp forests are being obliterated, and the disappearing forests endangering the habitat of the “pygmy elephant — the smallest elephant on Earth — the clouded leopard, the long-nosed tapir and many rare birds.”
As word spreads about the devastation that palm oil cultivation can cause, people are beginning to take notice and companies are beginning to make changes. Sustainable palm oil is in its infancy, and according to Worldwatch Institute, palm oil sustainability criteria remain controversial.
Check out saynotopalmoil.com to get a full perspective on what’s happening throughout the world because of palm oil.
Palm Oil is simply another ingredient that needs to be banned from our food supply. We don’t need it if it’s not sustainable in the health of our ecosystems or wildlife.
REDUCED MINERALS WHEY
Whey protein production starts with dairy cows and was actually considered a waste byproduct of cheese production. It was typically discarded.
Dairy companies now recognize the value of whey and have set up factories to concentrate and purify it from sources that are substandard from cows fed GMO foods, antibiotics and hormones to boost their production. Reduced-minerals ends up being a dark cream-colored product which companies acquire raw from the same handful of manufacturers.
Whey powder is an additive commonly used in spreads to prevent the coagulation of the product because it stabilizes the fat emulsions.
It is manufactured by drying whey that has been heat treated to remove a portion of the minerals. It is used as animal feed and also by the pharmaceutical industry.
Levels of demineralization of this type of whey can exceed 90% making this ingredient completely useless in terms of nutrition.
So dump this toxic brew of a spread and opt for a healthier alternatives below.
HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO NUTELLA
Raw Nutella Recipe #1
makes about 1 cup
1 cup hazelnuts, soaked for 8-10 hours
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2-4 tbsp coconut milk
Drain and rinse hazelnuts and place in food processor or high-powered blender. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Depending on the strength of your blender, this may take 10-15 minutes to get the desired consistency.
Once the hazelnuts turn into a buttery consistency, add the sweetener, vanilla, salt, and cacao powder and blend until smooth. Slowly add the milk until desired consistency.
Raw Nutella Recipe #2
Makes a 330ml Jar
15 dates (around 90 g. or 3 oz.)
1/2 cup almond butter
4 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup carob powder
1Tbsp coconut oil
1. Rehydrate the dates in hot water for about 10 minutes (or 2 hours in cold water)
2. Combine all your ingredients in a blender. Scrape the sides as needed to make sure the spread is smooth. Add only water or oil…never milk for this recipe.
Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.