If you're running late for work or school, would it be more healthy to skip breakfast altogether or just grab a doughnut?
For the answer to that age-old quandary and others about doughnuts, we turned to dietitian and LiveWell Nebraska blogger Jill Koegel.
Q: There always seems to be a debate about this, but what's healthier, a cake doughnut or a raised doughnut?
A: Cake doughnuts are made with batter and then fried. Raised are made more like a bread, with yeast, and then fried. Knowing this, it probably won't surprise you that cake doughnuts have 100-plus more calories than raised (glazed) and 7 more grams of fat (10 in yeast, 17 in cake), and 10 more grams of sugar. Those numbers come from comparing a glazed doughnut from LaMar's to a white-iced cake doughnut. So you know my answer: The glazed raised doughnut is “healthier.”
Q: Doughnut pans for baking and doughnut makers seem to be popular in home goods stores. How many calories would you shave if you had a baked doughnut compared to a fried one?
A: Baked doughnuts will be significantly lower in fat, but not necessarily in calories, carbs, and sugar. It depends on the size of the doughnuts and the recipe! If you buy a doughnut pan, buy the mini-doughnut makers and then be careful to not eat extra doughnuts because they are small! But as I tell people in regard to FryDaddys, turkey fryers, and other dessert pans: If you don't buy them, you won't eat the doughnuts at all and will end up with a healthier selection!
Q: I've heard people say it's healthier to eat a doughnut than to skip breakfast. Is that true? And why is that?
A: Skipping breakfast is associated with increased eating when food is accessible later in the day (such as after-work nibbling, or pre-dinner snacking). The research is based around eating protein with your breakfast, so have a glass of skim milk with your doughnut and you will have better self-control later in the day than if you skip breakfast. Yes, I said a doughnut (with milk) is better than no breakfast! But be careful how you interpret that one. This is not a good idea every day.
Q: If you were trying to be healthy, but were craving a doughnut, what would you suggest? Just eat half?
A: Sure! Share a doughnut, or get a glazed doughnut for yourself and have a glass of milk with it! Or something else with protein, such as eggs or a fat-free Greek yogurt. The purpose of breakfast is to encourage eating even amounts throughout the day, avoiding both strong hunger and eating based on external stimuli (i.e. when you aren't hungry).