What Are the Health Benefits of Nutella Hazelnut Spread?

Hazelnuts
A bowl of hazelnuts spilling onto a wood table. (Image: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images)

A smooth, creamy hazelnut and chocolate spread, Nutella is like peanut butter but sweeter. Because it contains hazelnuts, Nutella could provide support for your heart and some nutrients for your diet. However, because of its high fat and sugar content, eat it only on occasion.

Contains Protein, Iron and Calcium

A 2-tablespoon serving of Nutella has 2 grams of protein and 4 percent each of the daily values of calcium and iron for those on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet -- a relatively high amount of protein and minerals for a small serving size. Calcium is essential for keeping your bones and teeth healthy and for helping your body absorb other essential minerals. Iron is crucial for the production of red blood cells.

Fiber and Hazelnut Content

Because of its hazelnut content, a serving of Nutella has 5 percent of the daily value of fiber. While this amount is high relative to the serving size, it still falls below the "Good source of fiber" designation of 2.5 grams or more per serving. Dietary fiber provides bulk to your diet and helps with the smooth passage of waste through your system. Hazelnuts may also provide some heart-health benefits. A 2011 issue of the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” included a study that found that eating 30 grams of hazelnuts every day for four weeks led to an overall decrease in cholesterol levels.

Sugar and Fat Content

Nutella has 12 grams of fat per serving, with 110 calories from fat -- over half of the total calorie count for a serving. The American Heart Association recommends that you get no more than 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories come from fat. For a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, this is 56 to 77 grams of total fat per day. Nutella also has a high sugar content, with 21 grams per 2 tablespoons. A diet high in sugar can lead to tooth decay and weight gain.

Eating Nutella

Nutella can be used in place of peanut butter for a number of foods, including as a spread on crackers or bread. Choosing high-fiber foods, such as whole-grain bread, to eat with your Nutella will increase the dietary fiber content of your meal or snack. Nutella can also be used to make cupcakes or cookies, where the creamy texture lends itself well to fillings.

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