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Is Cheap Chocolate Frosting Healthier Than Nutella?

Is Cheap Chocolate Frosting Healthier Than Nutella?

“Would you put chocolate frosting on your bread in the morning?” is the question Marie Allard asked readers in her nutrition column in Canada’s largest French language newspaper, La Presse. It turns out, a spoonful of cheap store brand chocolate frosting has fewer calories, half the fat and less sugar than the same quantity of Nutella.

It is no secret to most people that Nutella is not as healthy as the company claims it is. In its television commercials, Nutella claims that “Every jar has wholesome quality ingredients like hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of delicious cocoa. And Nutella has no artificial ingredients or preservatives.” San Diego mother Athena Hohenberg is taking Ferrero (the company that owns the Nutella brand) to court over its nutritional claims, which conveniently don’t talk about the first two ingredients in the product — namely, sugar and palm oil.

Chocolate Frosting vs. Nutella By The Numbers

Inspired by Marie Allard’s column, I headed out to a supermarket close to my work and compared the store brand No Name chocolate frosting with Nutella. For one tablespoon of chocolate indulgence, here is how they compared:

  • Calories: Frosting has 75, Nutella has 100
  • Fat: Frosting has 3 grams, Nutella has 6 grams (double!)
  • Saturated Fat: Frosting has 1 gram, Nutella has 2 grams (double again)
  • Sodium: Frosting has 38 milligrams, Nutella has 5 milligrams
  • Sugar: Frosting has 8 grams, Nutella has 11 grams
  • Calcium: Frosting has 1% of daily needs, Nutella has 2%
  • Iron: Frosting has 3% of daily needs, Nutella has 2%

Looking at this list, Nutella is, on the whole, significantly less healthy than cheap store brand. It has double the fat and saturated fat and it has more sugar.  The only factor where Nutella is significantly better is on sodium.  Even in terms of nutrients there isn’t a significant difference. Nutella has slightly more calcium than the frosting and the frosting has slightly more iron than Nutella.

Are Chocolate Spreads from Other Brands Any Better?

On the way back, I stopped at the organics store to see if the brands there are any better. They had a German brand (Rapunzel Samba) and a Belgian brand (Savör). Both of those ones had more calories and more fat than Nutella, but also had less sugar. In her column, Marie Allard also compared Nutella with some other brands, including the President’s Choice brand which had 1 gram less sugar and 1 gram less fat than Nutella, but was essentially a similar product. She also looked at the bananas and chocolate spread of a Canadian company called Premičre Moisson and determined that it was the best option, with fewer calories and more natural ingredients.

What Goes on Your Toast?

Interestingly, the chocolate frosting was also less than half the price of Nutella. So, if you must indulge in a combination of palm oil, sugar and cocoa, the chocolate frosting may be the better option for your wallet and your waistline. Ultimately, however, neither of them really makes up part of a healthy breakfast.

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Photo Credit: Annie Urban

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159 comments

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2:11PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

All chocolate should be slavery free.

To help make that happen, encourage Nestlé to keep their promises to end slavery in their production by signing my petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/431/525/548/sell-slavery-free-chocolate/

6:01AM PDT on May 1, 2012

Once again, we see someone comparing content but not type. The fat in Nutella comes from nuts, a natural and healthy source. Where do the fats in that can of frosting come from?

I'd rather see a child eat Nutella in moderation than ever eat what comes out of that can of frosting. There are also healthier alternatives - Maranatha makes a dark chocolate peanut butter and a dark chocolate almond butter that are fantastic.

Please start learning the difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. There is a difference. The fat from an avocado is not the same as the fat from a french fry. In fact, it has been shown that the fat from avocados and nuts will actually undo the damage the fat from a french fry and a tub of margarine does to your body.

7:03AM PST on Mar 4, 2012

I've been considering buying Nutella since I love hazelnuts. I don't think I will now.

7:06PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Too bad Nutella is so tasty. But every time I would eat any large amount of it, I could quite literally feel my arteries clogging. Heh. I've since quit the stuff, but it's sad that they're trying to market themselves as a health option. Then again, "Vitamin D" aka whole-fat milk markets itself as a healthy option too, so...

6:05PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

I've been telling my mom that for ages XD

11:15AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Palm oil is really bad for you. I make my own 'nutella' like spread by combining natural peanut butter with a dark chocolate bar. Nuke for 1 minute, stir and enjoy!!! Any nut or seed can be roasted, ground and combined this way. Try it!!!!

4:18PM PST on Nov 16, 2011

Nutella is great on toast and give me the few extra calories, etc because Nutella tastes much better than that cheap NO NAME Chocolate frosting which is full of additives...

-Holly

5:39PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

I never heard of putting frosting or Nutella on toast. I sounds good though.

4:53PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

Should have known.

4:04PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

I know how sensitive and touchy everyone at CARE2 is, so please don't threaten to come over to my house, rape my family, and kill all of my pets for saying this but Nutella is disgusting! We have a jar of it in our fridge. It’s been there for quite a while. No one touches it. I’d rather eat wheat germ or oatmeal than Nutella any day.

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