The Protein Works are big on taste but taking on one of the most popular chocolate spreads in the world is a big ask even for them. If you need a clue as to which famous spread The Protein Works have in their sights, it also contains hazelnuts, along with a lot of chocolate, and it sounds quite a lot like ‘Rawtella’.
Where Rawtella differs though is in its commitment to raw natural ingredients and a low sugar content. It contains just 12.8% sugar which is derived from the coconut, whereas a certain other spread contains 58% sugar, the majority of which is refined.
Rawtella is tasty, and extremely nutritious as long as you can limit your helpings, but have The Protein Works shot themselves in the foot a bit with the name? Have they set the bar for flavour too high? Or have they pulled off a miracle and cooked up something that, being low in sugar and high in vitamins, minerals and all-round nutrition, can compete on taste with even the naughtiest of spreadable treats?
Of all the different varieties of nut, the hazelnut has one of the strongest nutrient profiles. It is generally considered to be one of the healthiest nuts, thanks to its high vitamin and mineral content but it also contains around 15% protein by weight, with the remainder mostly made up of mono- and polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats). Hazelnuts are the main source of protein in The Protein Works Rawtella.
In addition, hazelnuts contain high levels of omega-6 and omega-9 plus good amounts of fibre. The full list of vitamins and minerals found in hazelnuts is too long to list here, but it includes zinc, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin E and vitamin B6. The list of benefits that all of these compounds offer is even longer, but among the biggest are; regulating the immune system, promoting heart and bone health, increased flow of electrolytes to muscles and nerves and energy production.
If that wasn’t enough, hazelnuts are also jam packed with antioxidants which help reduce the ageing process of cells and the effect of damage caused by oxidative stress. The anitoxidants found in hazelnuts are thought to be highly effective for ensuring good heart health and protecting against cancer.
Organic Raw Chocolate Powder
To achieve the chocolatey taste and texture, The Protein Works have opted for a blend of raw cocoa powder, coconut sugar and sea salt. Of these, the most interesting is the cocoa powder as in its raw form it is known to contain high levels of polyphenols, which are antioxidants derived from plants. There have been quite a few studies done on the health benefits of polyphenols and they have been strongly linked to a reduction in risk of cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases as well as supporting metabolic functions in the body.
Coconut milk is different to coconut water, the liquid that spills out of a coconut when it is split. Coconut milk is made from the white flesh of the coconut and whilst we are yet to fully understand the health benefits of coconut milk, research suggests that it may be helpful in supporting weight loss.
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut milk help to increase thermogenesis (heat production) in the body, which can increase the rate at which fat is used for energy. This effect can last for hours as demonstrated by one study which showed that ingesting a high volume of MCTs early in the day resulted in a reduction in the amount of food subjects ate throughout the rest of the day.
- Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, Rawtella is a staple of The Protein Work’s burgeoning ‘vegan approved’ product range
- 100% raw with natural ingredients, no GMO
- Very low sugar content, just 12.8g per 100g serving
- Excellent source of vitamins and minerals
- Contains omega-6, omega-9 and is a great source of fibre
- Tastes very nearly as good as ‘that other hazelnut spread’
- If you are looking for a spread that hits hard on protein content, Rawtella is not your best option at just 12% protein by weight
- The spread is very high in calories at 622 per 100g. Almost all of the calories come from the hazelnuts so they are not necessarily ‘bad’ calories, but anyone on a low calorie diet might want to steer clear
- The texture has received a lot of negative comments with one customer describing it as “gritty” and another as “somewhere between peanut butter and humus”.
- It is not cheap at around £12 per 500g
The reviews on Amazon UK are a mixed bag, but here are a few
One thing that can be said for Rawtella is that, thanks to The Protein Work’s commitment to all natural ingredients, the potential side effects for health are almost non-existent. Hazelnuts and coconuts are safe to consume unless you are allergic to them and although raw cocoa powder does contain some caffeine, it is safe unless ingested in very large amounts (which can cause symptoms including increased urination, sleeplessness and migraines).
If you are allergic to hazelnuts then absolutely steer clear. If you are not sure if you are allergic to hazelnuts but you have other nut allergies, you should find out for sure if you are allergic to hazelnuts before trying Rawtella or, indeed, any other product containing hazelnuts. A severe allergic reaction to hazelnuts can present as anaphylaxis (breathing problems) among other serious symptoms.
How to Take It
As with other healthy nut butters, there is no ‘one way’ to take Rawtella and you are best advised to try it a few different ways to find out how you like it best. The Protein Works suggest adding some to shakes to make them more nutritious. This is a good idea, assuming you have a blender to hand, which you most likely will as Rawtella is probably not the sort of thing you cart around in your gym bag.
Leave it on the shelf at home where you can grab it in the mornings to put on toast or add to porridge, throw it together with some yoghurt and banana with your lunch, or grab a sneaky spoonful for dessert after dinner!
Who Takes It?
Going by the calorie profile and nutritional balance of Rawtella, it is likely to appeal more to people who want to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or want to eat more whole foods, than it is to anyone wanting to build lean muscle and increase their protein intake.
If you are trying to bulk up quickly then the high calories and large quantities of healthy fats in Rawtella could make it very attractive as a snack, but you might want to avoid it if you are on a cut.
Rawtella is a noble attempt at a genuine healthy alternative to one of the most popular not-so-healthy products on the market. Some agree that it compares on taste, a few even believe it tastes better, and for that, The Protein Works should be applauded.
Taste aside, Rawtella does fall somewhat short if you are primarily looking for a high-protein spread. It does, however, tick many other boxes such as being vegan and made from 100% raw foods which will score a lot of points with people who follow those diets and lifestyles.
For everyone else, Rawtella could be a great alternative and you won’t know whether it is until you try it for yourself. The problem is, at the price they are asking, many will opt for something higher in protein or just say “forget it” and buy five jars of Nutella instead.