While delicious, no one counts donuts as a “healthy snack option.” Some of the most unhealthy donuts you’ll find in America include many classic brands. Ever heard of Tim Horton’s, Krispy Kreme, or Dunkin' Donuts? There are quite a few chains in America with some really unhealthy donuts. Some brands are making an effort to rectify the unhealthy reputation of these tasty treats.
Still, the donut doesn’t have the best track record. Donuts are packed with processed sugars, unhealthy carbohydrates, calories, and saturated fats. You may be under the impression that an early morning Donut indulgence will be easily burned off throughout the day. However, studies show that some people may experience peaked blood sugar levels in the morning. Add more sugar, unhealthy carbs, calories, and trans fats into that mix and you’ll be met with a higher risk of hyperglycemia, heart disease, and weight gain (via LiveStrong).
Read on to learn more about some of the most unhealthy donuts you’ll find in America. We’ll talk about some of the worst offenders, including a breakdown of carbohydrates, sugar content, and calorie counts. Get an idea of which kinds of donuts to avoid, as well as a bit of their history. Read on as we delve into what makes these particular donuts so unhealthy. And, stick around to learn about what healthy brands are trying to revamp the “unhealthy donut” image. “Donut waste any time,” and let’s get into some of the most unhealthy donuts you’ll find in America.
The History Of Donuts
These sweet, circular treats have roots in the kind of fried, sweetened dough consumed as far back as the ancient Greeks, and Romans. Dutch immigrants from the 17th and 18th centuries brought their fried dough balls (often stuffed with nuts and fruits,) to New York. So how did the original doughnuts transform into the multi-flavored, glazed, and sugar-bombed donuts of the modern day?
There are some tall tales that explain how the hole came to be in the center of a doughnut. Whatever the origin tale, adding a hole increased the size of these treats, and made them easier to cook all the way through. This kind of donut made it into the World War I, and II trenches due to how easily they could be made by hand. Donut machines were developed to increase the efficiency of donut production.
One such machine was featured at the 1933 World's Fair and the infamous Krispy Kreme donut brand was born in 1937. This was followed by Dunkin' Donuts in 1950, which offered both coffee and donuts, for dunking. Donut production increased tenfold around all kinds of flavors, sizes, fillings, toppings, and glazes (via Brittanica). And now, here we are, in the age of some of the unhealthiest donuts in America.
The Most Unhealthy Donuts You’ll Find In America
Now that you know a bit of the history, let's learn about the present. Read on to learn about what donuts are among the most unhealthy donuts you'll find in America.
1. Krispy Kreme's Cake Batter Donut
Starting with one of the earliest donut makers, Krispy Kreme's Cake Batter donut really takes the cake in terms of calories, sugar content, and carbohydrate counts. 1 donut contains 350 calories, plus 180 calories from fat. It has 18 grams of total fat and 8 grams of saturated fat. There are 45 grams of carbohydrates, 26 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of dietary fiber. In addition, this donut contains 170 milligrams of sodium, all this according to the Krispy Kreme nutritional info.
2. Krispy Kreme's Dark Chocolate Oreo Cookies and Kreme Donut
The Krispy Kreme Dark Chocolate Oreo Cookies and Kreme donut is about as sugary as it sounds. At a whopping 400 calories per serving, it also has 21 grams of total fat, with 9 grams of saturated fat. There are 49 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar, and 180 milligrams of sodium. For a good comparison point, Healthline has many full meals that are under 400 calories and full of healthy items.
3. Dunkin’ Donuts' Glazed Jelly Stick
Moving on to Dunkin' Donuts, let's talk about their Glazed Jelly Stick donut. This one is featured on Healthline‘s list of “the unhealthiest junk foods in America. It has 540 calories, 30 grams of total fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, and 37 grams of sugar. From this single donut, you'll get 30 milligrams of cholesterol and 430 milligrams of sodium. Not to mention the added high fructose corn syrup in the jelly filling, and some of the unhealthier ingredients in the actual donut (refined wheat flour, soybean oil).
4. Dunkin' Donuts' Maple Creme Stick
Next up we have another stick donut, Dunkin's Maple Creme Stick. With 460 calories, 22 grams of total fat, and 9 grams of saturated fat, this one donut is the equivalent of a much healthier whole meal. It has 440 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, and 34 grams of sugar. Keep in mind the kind of refined flour that goes into making these kinds of donuts, as well as the added sugar in the glaze and the maple filling. It's the additives that really get you, even if the donut is a tasty one.
5. Tim Horton's Chocolate Caramel Donut
Moving onto Tim Horton's brand, with this Chocolate Caramel donut. This particular donut clocks in lower than some of the others at 280 calories, 49 grams of carbs, and 26 grams of sugar. It is high in sodium and fats, not to mention the added sugars in the caramel sauce (via MyFitnessPal).
6. Tim Horton's Blueberry Donut
Coming in slightly lower than the Chocolate Caramel donut, we have the Blueberry donut which contains 230 calories per serving. It has 8 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of saturated fat. You'll find 11 grams of sugar, 210 milligrams of sodium, and 36 grams of total carbohydrates (via FitBit). For more information on the nutritional profile of Tim Horton's donuts, check out their handy online calorie calculator.
7. Starbucks' Old-Fashioned Glazed Doughnut
While Starbucks has some healthier options, they are not making waves with their donut offerings. According to Business Insider, the glazed donut is one of the worst menu items you can order at this coffee chain. In one glazed donut, you'll find a shocking 480 calories, along with some 27 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar. While much of this nutritional profile comes from the makeup of the donut, the sugary glaze definitely ups the “unhealthy” factor of this particular American donut.
8. Starbucks' Apple Cider Doughnut
And last, for this list anyway, let's get to know the Starbucks' Apple Cider doughnut. This treat has some 230 calories, the same as the Tim Horton's Blueberry variety. There are 15 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of saturated fat. You'll find 11 grams of sugar, 36 grams of carbohydrates, and 210 milligrams of sodium. Once again, consider how the ingredients of the donut, along with the added toppings majorly affect the overall health profile of the donut.
“Healthier” Donut Options
So, there you have it, 9 of the most unhealthy donuts you'll find in America. Everything is in moderation, so if you're going to enjoy one of these treats, be sure it's a special occasion. Or perhaps plan to enjoy it slowly? If you're truly looking for healthier brands to try out, these classics may not be the ones to pick.
Making them at home means you can be selective about your ingredient choices, and there are some variations on the recipe that can be much healthier for you (still in moderation). Try homemade mochi donuts, which contain rice flour instead of refined wheat-based flour. You can try your hand at naturally sweetened fruit glazes or fillings that aren't full of high-fructose corn syrup.
Alternatively, there are a few brands of donuts that are working to change the donut game. For instance, check out Urban Legend Doughnuts which offers low-sugar, low-carb treats. These are high in fiber, made fresh, vegetarian, and made without artificial colorings or flavors. The Protein Donut, based in Miami, Florida, ships six different donut flavors worldwide so you can make these protein donuts at home. And, last, but not least, Kejoy donuts are packed with superfood ingredients and healthy fats.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©OlgaGubskaya/Shutterstock.com.