A handful of hazelnuts, about 30g, consists of 20 hazelnuts. On the other hand, a heaped tablespoon of the hazelnut spread, Nutella, also about 30g, consists of only 4 hazelnuts. “Is that all?” I hear you ask. Yes, there’s more in that jar of Nutella than just hazelnuts. What else? Well, you can guess cocoa, right? And what else? Read on!
A 30g serve of hazelnuts nuts contains only 1g of sugar. But a 30g serve of Nutella has 16g of sugar. That means Nutella has more than 10 times the amount of sugar for the same serve size. A 220g jar has 120g of sugar. Visualize the half way mark of the Nutella jar and imagine there’s that much sugar in the jar. A lot, hey!
Hazelnuts have 5% of their total fat as saturated fat. So a 30g serve of hazelnuts contains only 3g of saturated fat. All good. Nutella has a whopping 30% of its total fat as saturated fat. This comes from the palm oil used to turn the hazelnuts into a spread. Although a serve of Nutella has the same amount of saturated fat as a serve of hazelnuts, the saturated fat from the hazelnuts comes with added goodness of vitamins and minerals, whereas the palm oil used to make Nutella, is less nutritious.
A handful of unsalted hazelnuts contains 1 mg sodium. Nutella has 10 mg per 30g serve, making it ten times saltier than hazelnuts. Although salt is not listed as an ingredient, the ingredients themselves naturally contain salt.
Hazelnuts have three times the amount of fibre than that found in Nutella.
A handful of hazelnuts is the clear winner.
Whilst a snack of 30g of hazelnuts is filling enough on its own, a 30g serve of Nutella needs to be eaten with something else. And that means more kilojoules!
The ingredients in Nutella are: sugar, vegetable oil, hazelnuts (13%), skim milk powder (8.7%), fat-reduced cocoa powder (7.4%), emulsifier (lecithins) (soy) and flavouring (vanillin). So, the ingredients to make a 220g jar of Nutella would consist of something like this: 30 ground hazelnuts, 120g sugar, 20g of skim milk powder, 16g of cocoa powder, a touch of vanilla and sufficient oil to blend into a paste.
A closer look
put through the nutritional magnifying glass, would look more like…
What would I recommend instead? Well, for special occasions – birthdays, Easter or as a school holiday activity you could try making your own version at home. In a food processor or Thermomix, add predominantly hazelnuts (after all it is hazelnut spread), cocoa powder or good quality chocolate, some sugar and cream to blend into a paste and voilà! healthier, homemade hazelnut spread.
For a snack, the easier and healthier option would be to simply have a handful of nuts or 2 squares of good quality dark chocolate!