“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.
Photo Credit: Annie Urban