It’s hazelnuts. It’s European. It’s stylish, which makes it seem a bit healthy. Why, it can be likened to fancy peanut butter. Who here has not dipped a teaspoon– wait– tablespoon into that voluptuous tub of CANCER-RIDDEN goodness? Nutella, the treat of childhood, best eaten plain, but also divine on bread, pancakes, or crepes, is now the new cancer causer.
Headline: “Nutella Can Cause Cancer.”
Result: Nutella is banned. Pulled from the shelves. Nutella’s revenue plummets.
Outcome: Guilt and panic set in. “I think I’ve had too much Nutella.” “I think my kid has had too much Nutella. In fact, she had some today. And yesterday.”
Stop the madness! The study that is raising such hazelnut hoopla looked at mice who were injected with cancer cells. They were given cancer. The ones who were fed an extremely high fat diet, filled with, yes, palm oil, a key ingredient in nutella and so many other scrumptious products, developed a more aggressive form of the cancer than their svelte tumor-ridden counterparts. A specific protein on cancer cells, called CD36, grows by absorbing fatty acids, leading to tumor cell growth. Nutella itself was not given to the plumped up mice, but fat was.
Sure, let’s revisit the concept of high fat diets, and let’s evaluate any potential short- or long-term harms of ingredients such as palm oil. But headlines are not always accurate, to say the least. Solid, science-based studies, as this one was, should lead to more investigation. Not panic or loss of a good treat.