Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scrap the Bagel and Grab A… Doughnut?

So this is happening.

Dunkin’ Donuts has announced that it will be adding a new menu item to its breakfast offerings: the doughnut breakfast sandwich. Yes, you heard that right—the doughnut breakfast sandwich. And no, it’s not just doughnuts and jelly; it’s an actual breakfast sandwich, but the "bread" is a glazed doughnut rather than a bagel or english muffin. This thing has eggs. It has bacon. It comes with hash browns on the side. It’s legit, and it sounds totally disgusting.
At least they're not fully frosted doughnuts?
Image: Shutterstock
I like doughnuts, I like eggs, and I like bacon, but this new “sandwich” just makes me shake my head ruefully. This is why we’re struggling with obesity here in the U.S. and in many other countries. Why do we have to drown everything in oil and sugar, frying it just to be sure? Can’t we just save doughnuts and other sugary desserts for once-in-a-while snacks? Why do we have to add them to every meal?

I’ll concede that for people who normally just grab a doughnut or two with coffee for breakfast, this is probably a better choice than their normal meal—since it adds some much-needed protein and probably means they’ll eat at least one fewer doughnuts. If this were an in-betweener type of meal that was set up to wean people off of doughnuts and onto real food, it would have some merit to it. But I get the feeling it’s not one more way to get the good stuff it—it’s one more way to get the bad stuff in.

I’ll quit my whining for one moment to point out that the new sandwich does actually have fewer calories (360 calories) than the chain’s turkey sausage sandwich (390 calories). However, it also probably has a load more sugar, which in my book is far worse than a few more calories.

To be honest, it probably doesn’t taste too bad. Bacon goes well with sweet things, as do eggs. But the real problem is that, once again, a fast food chain is promoting the kind of eating that is causing major health problems.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Obesity is the #2 cause of preventable death in the United States. According to Get Fit America, there are 58 million people in the U.S. who are overweight, 40 million of which are obese. Three million of those are morbidly obese. Eight out of 10 people over the age of 25 are overweight, and nearly 80% of Americans don’t meet basic activity level recommendations.

Those are frightening statistics.

And this new gimmick is only going to contribute more to them. I understand that Dunkin’ Donuts is not meant to be healthy food, nor will it ever be. It is a doughnut shop, and its specialty is just that. I respect that, and hey, I eat my weekly doughnut with delight (yay Fridays!). What bothers me is the fact that the company is making what should be a special treat into something that seems like it’s okay to eat every day, when it is anything but.