Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are you a Bad Parent?

"Their day. Made by Mom.

My kids are always on the go. That's why at breakfast it's important to give them food that helps keep them going throughout their busy day - like Nutella. Kids love the delicious taste of Nutella. And I love that it's made from natural ingredients, contains no preservatives or artificial colour and is a source of Vitamin E. I feel good about making Nutella part of my kids' nutritious breakfast
I don't think you're a bad parent if you feed your kids Nutella - for many kids it's a sometimes food treat that they genuinely enjoy (go figure, it's spreadable candy).

I would however worry if you let yourself get duped by Nutella's advertising into thinking it's part of a "nutritious" breakfast, and that because it doesn't have preservatives or artificial colour and is a source of vitamin E it's a smart choice.

You might as well just spoon 100% natural, no preservatives added honey into your kids' mouths and call it "nutritious".

Of course, if you do choose to go the honey route, remember to spoon in 36% more honey than Nutella, because Nutella's got 36% more calories spoon per spoon than the honey.

Don't want to spoon in honey? How about 100% natural, no preservatives added pure white table sugar? Of course if you go the sugar route for every tablespoon of Nutella you'd planned on feeding the kids you'll have to give them 2 tablespoons of sugar to make sure they get the same amount of "nutritious energy" that the Nutella would have provided.

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  1. Anonymous10:48 am

    Wow. Scary. And people wonder why kids are obese nowadays.

  2. Not to mention that Nutella brand is made with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils, which some folk believe are metabolized in such a way as to make our bodies able to handle the calories more efficiently (i.e., pack on more weight with fewer calories), mess up our lipid metabolisms, etc...

  3. Ads are crazy these days. It seems like everything is made from "natural ingredients."

  4. I am not sure I understand your point about the honey and sugar. Yes, gram for gram, Nutella contains more Calories that honey and sugar. Of course it does! Honey and sugar are pure carbohydrate (providing 4 calories per gram), whereas Nutella contains fat in addition to carbohydrate. Since fat provides 9 calories per gram, it makes perfect sense that Nutella will contain more calories than honey or sugar. In fact, any nut butter or spread will provide more calories than honey or sugar, including peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc. This applies to varieties of nut butters with or without added sugars!

    Gram for gram, honey and sugar are the caloric equivalent of any other carbohydrate. Foods that are mainly carbohydrate are not considered “energy dense”. Foods containing high levels of fat (such as nut spreads) ARE energy dense, which is why it is recommended that we eat them in smaller quantities.

    More fat = more calories!

    You made it seem as though we should be astonished that Nutella contains more calories than pure sugar, when in fact this just basic food science.

  5. No doubt KC, you're absolutely right.

    In this day and age of childhood obesity however, reframing in terms of energy (and following Nutella's lead) and more specifically sugar, is an easy way to illustrate the fact that calories count and that there are consequences to "drinking all you want" of your fruit based juices or shmearing highly energy dense candy spreads on your morning toast.


  6. Anonymous2:29 pm

    Calories should not count. Sugar should count!
    I do not personally like Nutella, so am definitely not promoting it, but I am certain it may be a better choice of spread than a lot of other options out there!

  7. "Calories should not count. Sugar should count!"

    This makes no sense AT ALL.

  8. Interesting. From a purely caloric standpoint Peanut butter (the kind people typically buy, not the no sugar pure nuts stuff) and Nutella stack up pretty much identical (give or take 10 calories). The marketing of peanut butter is just as nutty (ha! ha!). Check out Kraft's claim that peanut butter can help you lose weight:

    So I'd say if you're going after Nutella, go after the peanut butter too.

  9. Sweetpea, I do not see anything incorrect about Kraft's statement. It is perfectly reasonable and valid from a scientific perspective.

    "Research shows that foods high in protein, like peanut butter, and foods high in fiber can provide a feeling of "fullness" that can help control hunger as part of a reduced calorie, balanced diet for weight loss."

    There is nothing wrong with that. I eat 2 tablespoons of peanut butter most days of the week and I manage my weight just fine. PB is healthy and provides great satiety value. There is no single food that causes obesity.

  10. Anonymous2:51 pm

    I just can't get my head around the concept of feeding my kids a 'chocolatey' spread on their toast for breakfast. Shouldn't we be teaching them that 'chocolate' (in whatever form) is best as an occasional treat, not a main part of a meal???