How Do Chocolate-Flavored Spreads Compare with Peanut Butter?

“Turn a balanced breakfast into a tasty one,” says the Nutella jar. The “Hazelnut Spread with Skim Milk & Cocoa” sounds healthy. It’s not.

Nutella has more added sugar (five teaspoons) and palm oil than nuts. And it couldn’t have much skim milk powder because two tablespoons have only 2 grams of protein and 4 percent of a day’s calcium. What’s more, peanut butter’s saturated fat (2 to 3 grams in two tablespoons) is balanced by its cholesterol-lowering unsaturated fat (12 to 14 grams). Nutella’s saturated fat (4 grams) isn’t.

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Jif’s new Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is a Nutella wannabe. Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread and Natural Nectar’s Almond Choco Dream swap almonds for hazelnuts, but they’re still mostly sugar and (palm and/or canola) oil, not nuts.

In contrast, you get more nuts than sugar and oil in Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend, Skippy Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams, and MaraNatha All Natural Dark Chocolate Almond Spread. Nuts up the protein (to 4 to 6 grams in two tablespoons), but you still get about 1½ teaspoons of added sugar—still too much.

PB Crave Choco Choco’s teaspoon of sugar (half of it added) and 3½ grams of saturated fat also are a bit too much. If you’re craving a chocolate spread, a better option is NuttZo Chocolate Seven Nut & Seed Butter. It’s mostly nuts and dark chocolate chips, with 7 grams of protein and about a quarter teaspoon of added sugar. But it’s $15 a jar, and taste-wise it wasn’t a crowd pleaser.

Or pick up a powdered chocolate peanut butter like PB2 with Premium Chocolate (if you can’t find it, try Amazon) or Just Great Stuff Organic Chocolate [Peanut Butter]. They’re short on protein (4 grams), but 1½ tablespoons prepared have just 40 to 50 calories and half a teaspoon of added sugar.

 

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