bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


Nutella, no longer part of a nutritious breakfast

Even though I never blogged about it at the time, my annoyance with Nutella and its marketing were the catalyst for this blog I did write a post about it later. I received an insert in a magazine featuring a dietitian extolling the virtues of Nutella as part of a healthy breakfast in conjunction with Breakfast for Learning programs. It seemed unethical to me that a dietitian would be promoting such a nutritionally bereft food as part of a child’s breakfast. People have been fooled into thinking that this food (which, while admittedly delicious) is healthy when it essentially turns a piece of toast into a chocolate bar.

My favourite disturbing Nutella story was told to me by one of my best friends. She was standing in line at the grocery store and the woman in front of her was buying a jar of Nutella. This Nutella purchaser and the cashier started discussing how yummy and healthy Nutella is. My friend couldn’t stand idly by and was compelled to interject that Nutella is delicious but it is not actually a healthy food choice and that it’s full of sugar. The women looked at the label and saw that sugar was the first ingredient. This is both a lesson in our susceptibility to marketing and the importance of label reading.

Last week parents won a class action lawsuit against Nutella. Usually I think that these sorts of lawsuits are a little ridiculous but in this case I think that it sets a great precedent. This win sends a message to the food industry that it is not okay to make false claims about the food you’re selling. It’s not saying that Nutella should be banned, it’s just saying that Nutella should stop pretending to be a health food when it’s really a treat.

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Follow Friday: Mindless Eating

As a dietitian with a degree in psychology I find the work of Brian Wansink at Cornell University endlessly fascinating. His website is: Mindless Eating and he’s also authored a book by the same name. His work helps to show us why we eat what we eat and why we eat as much of it as we do. He’s a big proponent of the effect of our food environment on our food consumption, as am I, and as you should be. If you’re interested in learning how to stop yourself from dipping into the candy bowl at work or all the little tricks that food companies and restaurants use to make us buy and eat more of their foods then you should definitely check out his work.