What NOT To Eat, and Why – No. 2 – Doughnuts

3 days ago (June 5) was National Doughnut Day in the US. Which is a good time for something which might seem like blasphemy to some of you – you shouldn’t eat doughnuts.


  1. They are fried – Meaning that they are rich in fat. You can see in the food label below that each doughnut has about 10 grams of fat – 16% of a day’s recommended value (and this is just a generic one. Chain store ones may contain even more). Eat 3-4 doughnuts (one is never enough, is it?) and this covered 50% of your allowed fat consumption for the day. And the fat itself is the bad type, as you’ll see below.
  2. They are full of sugar – Sugar is bad for. It raises your insulin level, which, if done too much (if you eat a lot of sugary foods) will cause weight gain and will put you at risk for diabetes.  Even though there are times when sugar is important for our body (after exercise, for example), during a regular day the body doesn’t need sugar in the form of sugar. So what does it do with it? It turns it into fat…
    Add to that teeth problems, since the bacteria in your mouth enjoy the feast as much as you do, and you’ve got yourself a sac full of problems.
  3. They are made of white flour – The latest dietary guidelines advise that at least half of all the grains in our diet will be whole grain. White flour, also called “refined flour”, is missing the fiber-rich parts of the grain, leaving the least nutritious part of the grain. The fiber-parts of the grain are important for our metabolism, give a sense of fullness (meaning you don’t have to eat as much), and help in preventing colon cancer.White flour, on the other hand, lacks vitamins and minerals. It also has a high glycemic index (see the article about French fries), meaning it causes a rapid spike in our blood sugars. Diets rich in high glycemic index foods have been linked to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

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Mmmmm…. doughnut….. NOT. Photo by James Jordan

  • They contain trans fat – As you can read in the previous article in this column (about French fries), trans fat is bad for you, since it raises your chances of having atherosclerosis and heart attacks.
  • They contain a lot of calories – 200 calories per doughnut. Eat a few more and you have eaten a whole meal of junk.
  • You usually can’t stop at one – They are small, they taste good, and one is never enough. You need at least another one to go with the iced coffee you just bought… Before you notice, (at least) 2-3 have gone down your throat.
  • Many people look at doughnuts as breakfast food, which is a big mistake. It will sky-rocket your blood sugar, which will then fall soon-after, just to leave you hungry for more food.


    Nutrition data for a sugared or glazed doughnut (data taken from

    What’s an alternative?

    That’s a tough one. Since doughnuts are made of unhealthy ingredients through and through, there isn’t much you can change about them to make them healthier (besides maybe trying whole wheat doughnuts, but that won’t change the other unhealthy stuff in them).

    What you can do is eat other things to satisfy your sweet tooth: A study from 2006 showed that a sweet tooth can be satisfied by eating fruit instead.

    Got any tricks of your own for conquering that sweet tooth? Share them in the comments.

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