Lifestyle: nutella®: mixed emotions

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.

Nutrition: what does folate (folic acid) do?

The tutor explores the function of folic acid in the body.

Folate is a B-vitamin; the synthetic form used to supplement foods is folic acid, which the body converts to folate.

Folate is needed for cell division and producing certain amino acids. A deficiency may result, for instance, in megaloblastic anemia: impaired cell division produces too few, but larger, red blood cells.

Folate is important during pregnancy.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, nutrition: eggs and cholesterol

The tutor compares egg yolk to egg white and generally considers eggs.

I’ve been told that it’s best to eat the egg white without the yolk, but I’ve never believed it. Today I looked it up.

About 43% of an egg’s protein is in the yolk. However, the yolk contains more of folate, zinc and many other nutrients than the white. The abundance of nutrients in the yolk has clearly inspired the comment that “the yolk may contain all the fat, but it also contains most of the vitamins and nutrients.”1

Some people worry about the yolk because that’s where the cholesterol is found – perhaps around 180mg. However, a growing opinion is that one egg per day probably doesn’t affect the cholesterol of a healthy person (although it might for some people facing specific health conditions, such as diabetes).

When people told me to only eat the egg white, they clearly meant to avoid the fat and cholesterol.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Turkey: dark vs white meat

The tutor compares the fat content of white and dark turkey meat.

Apparently, cooked turkey thigh (dark meat) is about 5.9% fat, whereas cooked turkey breast (white meat) is about 1.2% fat. Lean roast beef, by comparison, is about 6.4% fat.

Happy holidays!


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, Diet: margarine showdown: Becel vs I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

The tutor compares two brands of margarine in terms of fat content.

I’ve recently been suggested to (possibly) have high cholesterol. I haven’t checked it yet, but have begun to research the possible impact of certain foods. (Read my post here for more details.)

Coincidentally, two margarines are in the fridge: Becel and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Both are by Unilever (see my post here). Comparing them reveals, perhaps, two different philosophies towards cardiovascular health.

Per 2 tsp (10g), Becel has 8g of fat, of which 1g is saturated; Becel claims no trans fat. Once again, per 2 tsp (10g), I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! has only 6g of fat: 1.5g is saturated, while 0.1g is trans.

Among people who talk about diet regarding cholesterol and heart health, there are, perhaps, two points of view: (1)that saturated and trans fats should be avoided; (2) that, generally, people eat too much fat. Becel seems aligned specifically with the first idea, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, with the second.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.