I rekindled my relationship with Nutella recently, and posted about it on Instagram. Someone commented on that picture “Nutella is filled with crap pesticides,” and provided a link for reference. This link goes to a website run by a “wanna-be-farmer.” I like that. But once I started reading her content, I mentally puked (you can watch me do so in the Youtube video; watch that after reading this). The author goes through each ingredient in Nutella, and rants about how it’s unhealthy. Here is her expert opinion on soy lecithin:
SOY LETHICIN – Oh soy, how doth I explain thee? Okay, ya’ll I will just come out and say it. SOY AIN’T GOOD FOR YOU! Soy is known to cause thyroid depression, weight gain, malaise, constipation, delayed menstruation, and ultimately, breast cancer. Soy stimulates existing cancer growth, accelerates the onset of puberty, lowers your testosterone, and decreases fertility. Yeah, not gonna be your friend, that soy. Some people argue that soy is consumed by Asian cultures often so it must be good for us. The truth is that Asian cultures actually only eat small amounts of fermented, organic soy as a condiment and not NEARLY in the AMOUNT it is packaged and fed to Americans today. Also, the soy grown here is almost always GMO soy.
I couldn’t help imagining her in a southern accent while saying all that, but not just any accent; I’m thinking about the very thick kind typical of the uneducated class of Americans. She didn’t even spell it right first of all; it’s lecithin. Comments under this article read “good article” and “you are so right.” People don’t want information; they just want emotions that confirm their worldview. But for those who do want information, let’s discuss the truth about this subject. In part 1, what we’re going to do is debunk the naysayers. We will not yet come to a firm conclusion about whether or not Nutella is unhealthy yet—that’s part II. The objective in this part is to learn to think critically.
Table of contents
Claims About Nutella’s Unhealthiness are Baseless
Let’s look through a couple of popular health websites and their take on Nutella. Are their claims sound? I’m going to consider three websites here. The first two will be the first two listed in the picture below, “meghantelpner.com” and “wellnessmama.com.” The other site I’ll discuss is “isitbadforyou.com.”
Meghan says “Nutella is nutritionally void and shouldn’t be at the breakfast table.” Her belief here is that we should only be consuming food that is nutritious for us. White sugar has no nutrition. She is mostly correct here about Nutella being devoid of nutrition, but she is incorrect in assuming that we should only eat foods that are “nutrient-dense.” The people who talk about stuff like that still eat dessert, and eat foods with sugar. What’s really at play in Meghan’s mind is a fear that if we even touch a food that has little nutrition in it, our health will suffer.
I agree that we need nutrient-dense foods in our diet, especially when raising children. Weston A. Price found that a more refined diet caused structural changes in traditional peoples who switched from their traditional diet to a more Western diet. These physical alterations not only diminished the strong appearance of these traditional peoples, it caused health problems. Catherine Shanahan expounds upon this in “Deep Nutrition,” one of the few nutrition books worth reading.
But, what if you regularly exercise and crave some sugar? Well, as long as you get your nutrition from nutrient-dense foods like grass-fed meats, dairy, vegetables, and other
healthy foods foods that are good for you, you will be okay. Not only that, it might boost your metabolism. This is what I experienced after three years of not eating any added sugar from processed foods or drinks whatsoever. For most people who don’t exercise too much, there probably is no benefit to eating Nutella. But for some, eating Nutella will not only make them feel better, it will be better for their metabolism.
Reading the rest of the article, I see that her stance is essentially not about Nutella. It’s about the typical breakfast Americans eat. She says the Nutella is most likely not going on celery, it’s going on toast. This is very typical for the confused American and is important to understand. Eating more sugar on top of more refined carbohydrates like white toast is not healthy to do all the time. But once in a while, carbs are our friend, and you must try it to understand if it’s good for you. I rarely eat white bread, but it sounds good right now. There’s something about fast carbs…
One of the Most Common Nutrition Mistakes People Make…
Is they base their ideas on theories rather than experimentation. There is no knowledge without experimentation. The type of experiment I recommend is simply trying something and evaluating how you feel. You can learn a LOT from this, as my upcoming book (in a couple weeks hopefully) will explain. Intuitive eating tells you whether or not what you’re eating is healthy.
Many people try to eat healthfully based on “science” they don’t understand in the first place, and thus fail to listen to their bodies. When I ate Nutella over the past two weeks, I consistently evaluated how I felt. And I felt GREAT. It tasted amazing, and it gave me more energy. Now, I’m sick of it and do not want anymore Nutella for a while. I’m also craving “nutrient-dense” foods like squid and other seafood.
Let’s examine what WellnessMama says. She writes:
On top of that, the sugar is not-organic, and likely comes from sugar beets, resulting in a highly refined sugar that often contains large amounts of pesticides!
She’s talking about the white sugar in there. She’s also assuming that white sugar, because it comes from plants grown with pesticides, contains pesticides. There’s a huge difference and this is a leap in thinking. Assuming that because a plant is grown with pesticides, they end up in a refined version of that plant makes no sense. Yet, this is a popular type of logic employed by clueless and uneducated health bloggers who are only promoting a belief system rather than true health.
She makes the same mistake about soy lecithin. She talks about how soy is heavily sprayed and therefore is unhealthy. But she doesn’t understand that this is soy lecithin we’re talking about, not soy. There’s a difference, and it’s much harder to determine if soy lecithin contains pesticides as that type of information is not readily available. Most likely, NONE AT ALL, as lecithin is extracted from soy and isn’t actually soy itself.
Moving on, let’s lastly evaluate isitbadforyou.
Vanillin, on the other hand, is a cheaply produced chemical made to mimic the flavor of true vanilla. Not only does it contain MSG, but is also considered highly addictive, as it sparks the brain to release serotonin when consumed.
That’s interesting. I read something very similar on weedemandreap (our favorite hillbilly blogger)…”Also, Vanillin is EXTREMELY addicting. It bonds with receptors in your brain, causing a release of serotonin, or the “feel good” hormones.” Hmm…sounds like people are copying each other.
But really? VANILLIN “BONDS” WITH RECEPTORS IN YOUR BRAIN…Wow! Impressive scope of knowledge there! You know what else releases serotonin? A cumshot. For both sexes.
Not a single person discussing how Nutella is unhealthy has the mental clarity to stay focused on the subject and critically evaluate whether or not the product is healthy. Among the concerns from the crowd of “natural” and “organic” and “non-GMO” fanatics that hate Nutella is that Nutella once advertised the product as being healthy for breakfast, which resulted in a lawsuit. In this lawsuit, people felt that they were deceived by the false advertising, and they won. It’s incredible really. People who couldn’t think for themselves, or read, decided to blame a company for their advertising.
The other problem people have with Nutella is that it’s not “natural.” Many consumers aim to be “natural” in their life, and focus SOLELY on the foods they eat. Eating “naturally” has NOTHING TO DO with the foods you eat. It has everything to do with HOW you eat, which my upcoming book is about.
The next concern is pesticides. Well I’m waiting for data showing that Nutella has pesticides in it. From a quick google search I just come across blogs saying the same thing in different ways, promoting their “natural” lifestyle as if it’s healthier.
I did the same thing for years and my perspective has evolved as I learned to think more critically (and continue to do so of course as the learning never stops!). I used to purchase the “natural” versions of Nutella, thinking I was making a better choice, for my health, and the environment; but, none of that is proven. It’s all bullshit.
Health is an internal state. Measure your hormones, lipids, and stuff like that. Then talk. Do an experiment, then talk. Don’t just spew garbage on the internet. Once I have a bit more capital I will start conducting those experiments to show you guys what’s happening to my body.
But at least, evaluate how you feel. Don’t just subscribe to a belief system. Try Nutella. Eat it. Study the ingredients. Like, seriously study them. Don’t form a conclusion too quickly. Be the scientist of your own body, and follow your body. In part II we’ll focus entirely on the ingredients used in Nutella.
Lastly…Why Do You Want Sugar in the First Place?
I’m terrible at conclusions and saying “lastly.” But I will be brief. You have receptors on your tongue that DETECT SWEETNESS! Why do they exist? My simple answer is that well, DUH, sugar has many health benefits. It’s a quick source of fuel, replenishes liver and muscle glycogen, and gives us energy, and of course, tastes amazing. This is why hunter-gatherers, when they could get their hands on honey, would devour it!
When I ate sugar for the first time in 4 years, I devoured it too, until I got bored of it. This means I needed it and it truly helped me come back into a balanced state of health and heal my adrenals and thyroid, which got suppressed from chronic undereating with overexercising.
Many low-carb products substitute sugar for sugar alcohols and other alternatives. So I must ask, if you crave sweet, why are you trying to hard to avoid it? Having a healthy relationship with anything in your life is really important. If you have to completely ban it from your life, you’re not succeeding. By suggesting that Nutella should “never” be in your pantry, you’re suggesting that it’s inherently evil and you don’t have a good relationship with it.
Now, if a food truly is toxic, then I agree it shouldn’t be in our pantry. But Nutella is not one of those foods.