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Top Ten Reactions to the Breaking News That Nutella Is Not Health Food

The horror...the horror.

A class-action lawsuit has been settled against Ferrero USA, Inc., the makers of Nutella, after a mother was “shocked to learn” that Nutella isn’t exactly an ideal part of this complete breakfast.

Athena Hohenberg apparently bought into Nutella’s advertising that a couple tablespoons of Nutella make for a “balanced nutrition” addition to your kid’s breakfast, and was then totally surprised that the delicious, chocolatey goodness was chock-full of calories and fat. Seriously? Have you ever tasted this stuff? It’s amazing. One taste and there is no way you could confuse it with, say, tofu. Not coincidentally, it tastes a heck of a lot like the company’s Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates.

Thank God our legal system is here to protect us from the horror of delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread! Here are my Top Ten reactions to the breaking news that Nutella is not actually a health food:

10. OMG this news is more astounding than the Kardashian-Humphries marriage implosion. I mean, there’s just no way anyone could have seen this coming.

9. So, you’re telling me that advertisers are just trying to sell me things? Color. Me. Shocked.

8. Thank you, California legal system, for protecting me against my own inability to read a nutrition label.

7. ::fingers in ears:: La la la la la I can’t hear you la la la la la.

6. I guess I’ll go back to feeding my kids Pop-Tarts and Mt. Dew for breakfast, then.

5. How about if I put a whole bunch of those round Ferrero-Rocher chocolates in a bowl, and pour on some milk? Is that healthy? What if it’s skim milk?

Just add milk! It's the breakfast of champions!

4. If I eat Nutella and then drink a Diet Coke, they cancel each other out, right?

3. Thanks to Ms. Hohenberg’s lawsuit, I am beginning to wrap my tiny pea-brain around the idea that when sugar is the first ingredient in something, it might not be a health food. However, I am going to go ahead and assume that high-fructose corn syrup would be ideal, because it has the word corn in it.

2. Okay, so it’s not a breakfast food. How can I incorporate Nutella into our other meals? Does Nutella come in individual snack-paks for children’s lunchboxes?

1. Who’s in for a class action suit against Skittles? I can’t actually taste the rainbow.

Regardless of my complete and overwhelming surprise that Nutella isn’t health food, the suit, which was filed last February, has now been settled for $3.05 million. Of that, $2.5 million will be divided among consumers.  Anyone who bought Nutella between Jan. 1, 2008 and Feb. 3, 2012, (or Aug. 1, 2009 and Jan. 23, 2012 in California) can file a claim. Before you go pricing out yachts, you should know that consumers can receive up to $4 per jar of Nutella that they purchased during the specified time period, with a maximum allowance of $20 per household.

Ferrero also agreed to modify the Nutella label and certain marketing statements about the product, create new television ads and change their website.

The funny part about this story for me is that our family goes through a jar of Nutella a week. I have no misconceptions about its calorie and fat content; in fact, that’s why we buy it. Our pediatrician has actually “prescribed” Nutella to our two underweight daughters.

Our daughters are underweight enough that our pediatrician has serious concerns about their health, both in the short-term and in the long run. Children who are underweight (having a BMI under the 5th percentile) can have poorer concentration, lower immune systems, delayed puberty, stunted growth, and are at higher risk for bone problems and even certain types of cancer later in life.

One way we’re working on this problem is giving the girls a breakfast of two whole-grain waffles, each topped with a thick slab of Nutella. This wouldn’t be a healthy food choice for me; I certainly don’t need to stuff additional fat and calories into my piehole. I know it’s full of sugar but honestly I haven’t found another way to  get my kids to willingly scarf down 500 calories at one sitting. Nutella is helping to keep my daughters from falling off the growth charts entirely, so I won’t be cashing in on the Ferrero class action suit.

Have any other suggestions on ways to jam more calories into my kids? I’ve already gone beyond the whole-milk deal and have started adding heavy whipping cream to things. If I use any more olive oil, we’re going to float away. Any other tips?

(Photo Credits: Nutella USA, Ferrero Rocher USA)

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