Monitoring nutrition involves constant self-tutoring. The tutor reflects about nutella®.
I first encountered nutella® (spelled lower-case on the jar, so I’ve spelled it the same) decades ago. I had a Dutch girlfriend who ate it; I never liked it. (She dumped me on Valentine’s Day over the phone – not, I believe, because I disliked nutella®.)
After that break-up, I thought nutella® and I were through, too. Six years later, I married a French Canadian girl who didn’t buy nutella®. I didn’t know anyone else who ate it, either.
Years later, when our kids were perhaps around four and six, nutella® resurfaced. I can’t recall exactly how; perhaps the kids tried it at someone else’s house. My older son didn’t like it, but my younger one did. “Can we buy it?” the inevitable question was uttered.
By that time, I admit, nutella® had penetrated our culture. There was even an ad on TV suggesting that nutella® is nutritious (which I think is debatable).
I might recall standing in the supermarket aisle, a jar of nutella® in my hand, reading the ingredients. Up to me, I’d never have bought it, but my wife is more indulgent about food. She doesn’t buy much that I don’t approve of, with a very few exceptions. We have bought nutella® ever since.
My objection to nutella® is that it’s held to be almost a “health” food, but from my point of view, it’s not. nutella® is more than 30% fat and more than 55% sugar. It’s about 5.3% protein; being made with hazelnuts and skim milk, I’d hope for more. However, hazelnuts are the third ingredient, while skim milk powder is fifth (behind cocoa).
My son eats nutella® as a spread, either on toast or a waffle. The obvious parry is that nutella® is more nutritious than syrup – likely true, for an active kid who doesn’t have to worry about fat intake.
For an adult who is concerned with fat and calories, nutella® might be a more dubious choice. Per tablespoon, nutella® has 100 calories. Jam has about 50; the syrup we use has only 58. Neither the jam nor the syrup has any fat.
I’ll admit that an argument for nutella® is its uniqueness. Typically, people eat food they like. So, what’s similar to nutella®? (Neither jam nor syrup is.) The closest alternative I can imagine is peanut butter, which I happen to like much better. To be fair, the peanut butter we have is even higher in fat and calories than nutella®. On the other hand, the peanut butter is a stunning 26.7% protein (compared to 5.3% for nutella®). Regardless, I believe that from most people’s point of view, peanut butter is too disimilar to nutella® to be considered an alternative.
Sitting here with my third cup of coffee, I’m philosophical. We are told breakfast is a very important meal, yet it’s the easiest to skip. So many people happily eat nutella® in the morning; without it, they might likely eat nothing, or something worse. We keep buying nutella®; I opened a fresh jar today. I don’t eat it, though.
To my Dutch ex, who introduced me to nutella® almost thirty years ago: I know it’s all my fault you had to dump me. Moreover, I hope you’ve found happiness. In a way, perhaps, you’ve gotten a little extra piece of me: every time I take out that jar of nutella®, I think of you. I just have one question: do you still eat nutella®?
Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.