Stop Nutella! Not because of Cancer Risk…

“Nutella causing cancer” is now trending worldwide, although it was known for few years that some studies are suggesting the risk. So I thought, maybe new studies actually got published backing-up these hypotheses. I started checking the literature and no single study was conclusive regarding the risk of cancer, hence more studies are needed. So with evidence base science we cannot say that Nutella directly causes cancer.

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On the other hand, I stopped eating it for few years now for two main reasons. The first reason, you should always take into consideration the bias, I’m a pharmacist and I know how the big companies lobby their studies. The second reason, Nutella’s main component, Palm oil, has many evidence base health risks other than cancer that are already well established.
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Palm oil is composed mainly of Palmitic Acid, which is a saturated fat. According to the American Heart Association and the World Heart Federation, the high intake of such fat can increase the bad cholesterol in the blood and decrease the good one. On the other hand, sugar makes up tp to 55% of Nutella’s content, so eating  it without monitoring the intake can directly affect and modify the sugar control system in the bodies and specially in kids.

“Nutella is more sugar and fat than hazelnuts.”
Catherine Saxelby Via Food watch 

Finally, this post is not intended against Nutella per se, but the diseases are striking high in the last few years in our societies, which is mainly due to the big changes in our lifestyles including our diets. So as a start, we can decrease the intake of processed food in general, specially when it comes to refined sugars and processed fat. It’s easier than you think! For example here is a simple recipe for some homemade tasty “Nutella” :

Better Than Nutella (Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread)
via bon appetit:

Ingredient:

  • cups (heaping) hazelnuts, preferably skinned (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet or in an ovenproof skillet. Roast, shaking sheet once for even toasting, until deep brown, 13-15 minutes. Let cool completely. (If nuts have skins, rub them in a kitchen towel to remove.)

Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a fairly smooth, buttery paste forms, about 1 minute.

Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water; stir often until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over saucepan; add butter and whisk until completely incorporated. Whisk in cream and salt, then hazelnut paste.

Pour gianduja into jars, dividing equally. Let cool. (Gianduja will thicken and become soft and peanut butter-like as it cools.) Screw on lids. DO AHEAD Gianduja can be made up to 4 weeks ahead; keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours to soften. Can stand at room temperature up to 4 days.

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