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    Archive for the ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’ Category

    Small Sizes, Big Numbers

    Some nutritional horror figures don’t exactly come as a surprise.  No one is particularly shocked when told that an order of Burger King’s large fries packs in 580 calories, or that a large Wendy’s chocolate frosty shake clocks in at 890 calories and contains almost as much added sugar as three cans of Coke.

    It’s not just the large sizes that come with jaw-dropping nutritional values.  In fast food world, “just go with a small” advice goes out the (drive-thru) window. Below, my three picks for “yes, really, those numbers are for the SMALL size!”

    Continue Reading »


    Bromine: Mountain Dew’s Dirty Little Secret

    One of my tweets yesterday regarded the arrival of the latest Dunkin’ Donuts beverage — the Mountain Dew Coolatta.

    It’s certainly a tweet-worthy item.  A small (16 oz.) one contains almost 13 teaspoons of added sugar, while a large (32 oz.) contributes no less than 25 teaspoons of sugar.

    The 25-ingredient list also caught my eye.  Check it out:

    Frozen Neutral Base [Water, Neutral Base (Sugar, Glucose, Fructose, Silicon Dioxide, Malic Acid, Xanthan Gum)], Mountain Dew Coolatta Concentrate [Treated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Orange Juice Concentrate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate (to protect flavor), Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Alcohol, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Caffeine, Sodium Benzoate (preserves freshness), Gum Arabic, Sodium Citrate, Glycerol Ester of Rosin, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor), Erythorbic Acid (preserves freshness), Yellow 5, Brominated Vegetable Oil].

    It is that last ingredient — brominated vegetable oil — that most people aren’t aware of.  And, in this case, what you don’t know may indeed hurt you.
    Continue Reading »


    Dunkin’ Donuts: The Curious Case of the Executive Chef and ‘Productive Calories’

    1296003983712Yes, I know.  I often pick on Dunkin’ Donuts.  I’ve alluded to the fact that if “America runs on Dunkin'”, then it’s probably gasping for air after twenty seconds.  I’ve repeatedly pointed out some of the chain’s horrific nutrition figures (i.e: their large mocha contains as much added sugar as nine Oreo cookies).  And, yes, I’ve “WTF”-ed at some of their ingredient choices (their cheese danish contains over 60 ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, two artificial dyes, and partially hydrogenated oils).

    And, well, their new YouTube channel — which showcases their DDSmart “healthier-for-you” choices (read my harsh critique of said choices here) — just adds to that bowl of fun soup.

    Continue Reading »


    Numbers Game: Answer

    dunkin-donuts-cup-400x300A large Dunkin’ Donuts mocha coffee (black coffee with mocha syrup) contains 11.5 teaspoons of added sugar.

    Context time!  If this is your morning coffee order, that means you are drinking:

    • An additional teaspoon and a half of sugar than you would from a 12-ounce can of soda
    • As much sugar as in nine Oreo cookies
    • As much sugar as 44 mini marshmallows
    • The equivalent of a large cup of coffee sweetened with eleven and a half packets of sugar

    Even a small mocha coffee contains two tablespoons of added sugar in the form of flavored syrup.

    What truly disturbs me is that these preposterous sugar levels are considered “normal”.


    Numbers Game: Sweet Enough For Ya?

    Dunkin_Donuts_CoffeeA large Dunkin’ Donuts mocha coffee (black coffee with mocha syrup) contains _____ teaspoons of added sugar.

    a) 8
    b) 11.5
    c) 9.25
    d) 13

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Saturday for the answer.


    Calorie Counts Are Helpful, But Not The Answer

    Starbucks caloriesI know, I know.  I have been — and still am — a strong supporter of mandatory calorie labeling at fast food establishments and chain restaurants since day one.

    I am, however, concerned that too many people view caloric awareness as the sole key to health.

    While it certainly helps to know that breakfast item A can save you 400 more calories than breakfast item B, there are other important factors to keep in mind.

    Take a look at some items that are calorically decent but nutritionally horrific!

    Remember that for saturated fat, someone on a 2,000 calorie diet should not surpass 20 grams a day.  While I believe that value can be more flexible if saturated fats are mostly coming from cocoa or coconuts, the items listed below contain vast amounts of the very atherogenic saturated fats in dairy.

    For sodium, the recommended limit is set at 2,400 milligrams.

    Au Bon Pain:

    • Mac & cheese soup: 442 calories; 16.5 grams saturated fat


    • Guiltless Grill chicken salad: 361 calories; 1,385 mg sodium


    • Broccoli and cheddar soup: 374 calories; 19.5 grams saturated fat
    • Chicken wings & buffalo sauce appetizer: 300 calories; 1,940 milligrams sodium
    • Side of everything hash browns with onions, cheese, and gravy: 480 calories; 3,820 milligrams sodium (!!)

    Dunkin’ Donuts:

    • Strawberry coolatta (16 ounces): 300 calories; 16 teaspoons of added sugar

    Olive Garden:

    • Minestrone soup: 100 calories; 1,090 milligrams sodium

    Panera Bread Company:

    • Clam chowder: 320 calories; 18.7 grams saturated fat
    • French onion soup (with croutons and cheese): 174 calories; 1,784 milligrams sodium


    • Chicken noodle soup: 260 calories; 2,580 milligrams sodium
    • Fat-free balsamic vinaigrette: 120 calories; 1,170 milligrams sodium; 4 teaspoons added sugar

    Red Lobster:

    • Broiled seafood platter: 280 calories; 1,660 milligrams sodium

    While calorie counts are helpful for weight concerns, health is about many other factors.  Even if, down the road, all chain restaurants in the entire country provide calorie information, it is not a green light to make them a dietary staple.


    Just ‘Cause It’s Made With Pumpkin Doesn’t Mean It’s Healthy

    pumpkins-main_FullAs autumn proceeds to pepper foliage with orange and red hues, drop temperatures, and add a unique crisp to the air, food chains roll out their traditional seasonal offerings.

    As you can see below, the Fall season brings plenty of nutritional frights!

    • Au Bon Pain pumpkin muffin: 530 calories
    • Au Bon Pain large pumpkin latte: 40 grams of added sugar (as much as a can of Coca-Cola; 160 additional calories)
    • Dairy Queen small pumpkin pie Blizzard: 570 calories, 12 grams saturated fat (60% of a day’s worth)
    • Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin muffin: 630 calories (130 more than a large order of McDonald’s french fries)
    • Dunkin’ Donuts large pumpkin latte: 44 grams of added sugar (11 teaspoons, or 176 additional calories)
    • Starbucks pumpkin scone: 480 calories, 9 grams (almost half a day’s worth) of saturated fat, 38 grams of added sugar (9.5 teaspoons; 152 additional calories)
    • Panera Bread Company pumpkin-shaped shortbread cookie: 12 grams saturated fat (as much as a tablespoon and a half of butter)

    Enjoy responsibly.

    Any time you purchase a flavored coffee, make it a small, and skip — or ask for half — the whipped cream.

    Similarly, these gigantic baked goods are better off in the “no more than once a week” category.

    The key is to plan accordingly.  If sharing isn’t an option, then make that baked good your only sweet of the day, and be sure that your lunch and dinner that day mainly consist of a protein and plenty of vegetables (ie: grilled fish and sauteed broccoli, three-bean chili, seitan or chicken with a baked sweet potato, canned tuna or grilled chicken over a colorful salad, etc.)


    Numbers Game: Answer

    Sugar-CubesA small (16 ounce) Dunkin Donuts watermelon coolatta contains 14.75 teaspoons of added sugar.

    That is almost a teaspoon of sugar per ounce!

    By comparison, a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola clocks in at 16.5 teaspoons of added sugar.  

    In case that wasn’t clear, on an ounce-by-ounce comparison, a Dunkin’ Donuts watermelon coolatta contains more sugar than soda.

    Don’t let the “watermelon” fool you — there isn’t a drop of real fruit in here.

    All the sugar comes from high fructose corn syrup and sucrose (table sugar).  

    The watermelon taste?  Provided by flavoring.  As for that lovely shade of red, it appears courtesy of an artificial dye commonly known as Red 40.

    Throw in a chocolate  frosted cake donut (19 more grams of sugar) and you have a “meal” that contains as much sugar as 18 Oreos.


    Numbers Game: Why Not Just Call It A Sugar Coolatta?

    dotsA small (16 ounce) Dunkin Donuts watermelon coolatta contains _______ teaspoons of added sugar.

    a) 10
    b) 14.75
    c) 13
    d) 16

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Wednesday for the answer.


    You Ask, I Answer: Dunkin’ Donuts Healthier Options

    Dunkin’ Donuts recently came out with their new line of “DDSmart” options.

    I am wondering what you think of them.

    — Dennise O’Grady
    Bay Head, NJ

    Dunkin’ Donuts defines its DDSmart options as those that are “reduced in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, or sodium by at least 25 percent compared to base product or other appropriate reference product” and/or “contain ingredients that are nutritionally beneficial.”

    Technically, then, a 600 calorie muffin laden with sugar and saturated fat could be labeled “DDSmart” if it meets criteria #2 (healthful ingredients) by adding a sprinkle of ground flaxseed.

    In essence, they are setting up guidelines that enable them to label some not-so-great options as “DDSmart.”

    This is why corporate, self-imposed nutrition criteria is always slightly suspect.

    Consider, for instance, the inclusion of a 450 calorie blueberry muffin. It’s a “DDSmart” option simply because it contains a quarter less fat than a traditional blueberry muffin.

    What you aren’t being told is that there is only a sixty calorie difference between the two muffins.

    Dunkin’ Donuts is counting on people to think “oh, it’s a low fat muffin! It must be low-calorie, too!”

    This nebulous advertising clearly demonstrates why calorie labeling is so crucial.

    Another odd DDSmart choice? The egg and cheese English muffin, which provides a quarter of a day’s worth of saturated fat and a third of the sodium daily limit.

    If healthful ingredients is what they are looking for, why not at least bump the fiber content up by using 100% whole wheat English muffins?

    The least offensive item — apart from low-calorie coffees made with skim milk — is the egg white and vegetable flatbread sandwich.

    The multigrain bread contains some whole wheat flour and the entire sandwich clocks in at 290 calories. Still, you’re looking at 680 milligrams of sodium.

    The smartest thing you can do is not depend on fast food companies for your daily breakfast needs.


    You Ask, I Answer: Doughnuts

    Is there any [nutritional] difference between regular doughnuts and cake doughnuts?

    — Melissa Yeats
    Boston, MA


    Cake doughnuts usually contain 30 to 50 percent more total — and saturated! — fat than regular (yeast-based) doughnuts.

    As a result, these cake-like pastries usually provide anywhere from 50 to 100 more calories than their yeast-based counterparts.

    This reminds me — don’t feel too safe ordering Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins. Some of them pack quite a punch.

    Example? Four glazed chocolate cake munchkins add up to 300 calories.

    That same amount of jelly-filled yeast-based munchkins provides a more reasonable 192 calories.


    Numbers Game: Answer

    A half cup of canned peach slices in heavy syrup contains approximately 4.5 teaspoons of added sugar.


    Not only does that tack on 72 completely worthless calories, it also offers one more teaspoon of added sugar than a glazed Dunkin’ Donuts concoction.

    As for the 10% of the potassium daily value offered in half a cup of natural peach slices? It decreases by half in its canned form.

    Vitamin C levels are also slashed by 50 percent when peaches undergo this kind of processing.


    In The News: Missing In Action

    Ronald McDonald has some ‘splaining to do.

    His fast-food chain has been “awarded” the most violations for not posting calorie information on various of their New York City stores’ menu boards.

    In total, 682 violations have been handed out since April.

    “About 300 citations were issued during the first six weeks the rules took effect, which was considered a grace period, and did not carry fines. Since then, 388 violations were issued that carry fines between $200 and $2,000 each,” reports Crain’s New York Business.

    McDonald’s has acquired 103 violations, Dunkin’ Donuts is not far behind with 89, and local fried chicken chain Crown Fried Chicken rounds out the Top 3 with 39 violations to its name.

    “Some citations were given for non-compliance and others punished restaurants for not posting information the way the regulations require. For instance, a few restaurants were fined for putting the information in the wrong place or using lettering that was too small.”

    I notice the linked news article displays a sole comment from someone named “Joe” who claims calorie labeling is “nannying” and “a violation of… life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Considering the amount of people I have heard voice a similar statement, Joe is not joking.

    For the life of me, though, I have no clue what civil liberties are violated by asking restaurants to post calorie content information.

    I also fail to see how such a request can be considered “nannying.”

    Nobody is being forbidden from buying an 1,100 calorie milkshake. It isn’t taxed more heavily than a less caloric option. There isn’t a limit on how many times you can order it, or at what time of day.

    So where, exactly, is the “you can’t tell me what to eat!” defensiveness coming from?


    Numbers Game: Answer

    A Dunkin’ Donuts corn muffin has 220 MORE calories than one of their blueberry cake donuts.

    That’s right.

    The corn muffin provides 510 calories, while a blueberry cake donut adds up to 290.

    The muffin also has 2 more grams of fat (18 to the donut’s 16) and twice the sugar (32 grams of it, compared to the 16 grams in the donut).

    Remember, a muffin is essentially a slice of cake for breakfast.


    Numbers Game: Make Your Choice

    A Dunkin’ Donuts corn muffin has _____ _______ calories than one of their blueberry cake donuts.

    a) 150 LESS
    b) 220 MORE
    c) 185 LESS
    d) 140 MORE

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section (no peeking at the Dunkin’ Donuts nutrition information!) and come back on Monday for the answer.

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