Muffins, Bagels, or Donuts? What’s Healthier? Sugar is the problem.


In our society, we are trained to think certain things are healthier than others. What’s most important is being educated in reading the nutritional labels of what you are consuming and putting in your body. When you’re on the go, and you decide to stop at your local Dunkin or Honey Dew Donuts you ask yourself, which is the best option for me. Which is healthier for me… muffins, bagels, oatmeal or donuts. Your answer most likely is muffins or oatmeal right?

We are trained by social media, advertisement, and word of mouth that certain things are healthier. But why do we think muffins and oatmeal are better? You will be surprised by the nutritional facts.

What is most important when making food decisions? The first thing I always look at is sugar content. Yes, the other values on the label are important, but today sugar is what I will discuss as the key point. We as a society are not educated enough on how sugar is a huge culprit of weight gain.


Sucrose, commonly known as sugar, is a carbohydrate found naturally in plants. The liver’s function is to metabolize sugar and to produce energy from it. The sugar that is left over is converted into fat which raises your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Intake of sugar accelerates the oxidation process in our cells, and what can result is the damage of our tissues, proteins, and organs. Consuming sugar raises our insulin levels which results in stored fat cells.

According to The Wolrd Health Organization (WHO), it states that only 6 to 10 percent of our daily calories should come from sugar. Jenny Champion, a certified diabetes educator, states “That equals 120 to 200 calories and 30 to 50 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet, respectively.” Nutritional labels or facts will surprise you. Something as simple as trying to choose a quick and convenient snack can make an impact on your sugar levels.

Here are some nutritional facts from Dunkin Donuts to show sugar levels.

Surprisingly a donut has much less sugar than a muffin. I’m not suggesting you eat a donut multiple times a week, but it’s important to educate yourself on how to look at labels. Since one food item is so high in sugar, you can expect it to be converted to fat and stored in our bodies. It’s smart to learn and create habits of looking at nutritional labels. This habit will help you make better choices to maintain a healthy body, as well as help you stay on track with your nutrition.

Healthy Sugar Options:

Instead of choosing a donut or muffin, try to find a protein rich snack between meals to help keep you full. Some great food options are plain greek yogurt with fresh berries, homemade egg muffins or fresh veggies with hummus. Fruit are other great options such as apples, pineapples, and pomegranates.

One of my favorite healthy options is a bowl of old fashioned oats with fresh blueberries mixed in. Also, don’t be fooled by packaged oatmeal (this was a mistake I made a lot when I first tried to eat “healthier), a lot of them contain over 10 grams of sugar per serving. I am guilty, and my best friend can tell you, that after work instead of making dinner I would have two packets of raisin and spice oatmeal. In my mind, I was thinking, one “this is delicious” (because it’s full of sugar which I didn’t know or bother to look at the nutritional label), and two “I’m being so good, I’m eating healthy because it’s oatmeal.”

Raisin Spice Oatmeal

Old Fashioned Oats

Let’s compare the two oatmeal options. Oatmeal is healthy, right? The raisin spice serving size is one packet has 150 calories, and 14 grams of sugar (and I’m guilty of eating two at once).  Old fashioned oats are 1/2 cup serving size, has 150 calories, and 1 gram of sugar. Now if you add blueberries, which is my favorite healthy sugar option to add, 1/4 serving size adds 3.61 grams of sugar. The numbers clearly show that packaged oatmeal is full of sugar.

There are other options you can opt for other than pure sugar. These options you also want to keep in moderation since they are still counted as sugar. Honey, for example, offers some health benefits and is a natural sweetener with small amounts of nutrients and antioxidants. Date sugar is another option that has other nutrients such as potassium, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, b vitamins. One tablespoon of date sugar contains 3 grams of sugar and moderation is important.

Reading nutritional labels is one of the best things you can do to help you reach your health and fitness goals. There are many fast options that you can purchase, but they aren’t doing your body any favors. It’s so important to read the labels before making the choice to purchase an item. Sometimes when something is labeled as “healthy” or its thought to be healthy does not mean it is healthy.

Fast food is easy and convenient, yes, but what affects does it have on our bodies? Make smart, and educated decisions. Always read nutritional labels before making choices and look at the sugar content. Always choose to become a better healthier you.