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Breaking Down Your Breakfast: Donuts vs. Eggs

By Cynthanne Duryea, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

donut vs egg

Today is National Egg Day and National Donut Day – what a coincidence to have two common breakfast foods be celebrated on the same day! Let’s take a look at their nutritional values and how each might be included into a healthy eating plan.

Donut Do’s and Don’ts

“How can a donut be part of a healthy eating plan?” Here at Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, we like to have an “all foods fit” mindset. Would any registered dietitian nutritionist design healthy breakfast ideas and purposefully choose a donut as an optimal fuel option to begin a busy day? Definitely not. However, let’s look at two common donuts objectively and simply:

Donut Type

Calories Saturated Fat Carbohydrates and sugar

Time in walking (15 minute per mile pace) to burn off donut calories

Glazed Donut

260

6 31 (12 g sugar)

58 minutes

Old Fashioned Cake Donut 320 10 33 (9 g sugar)

71 minutes

Data from dunkindonuts.com

One might think the glazed donut would be higher in calories due to the sugary glazing on top. But, because the cake donut is much denser, it actually has the higher calorie content. Both donuts have significant saturated fat content. American Heart Association recommends less than six percent of daily calorie need comes from saturated fat. Based on an average 2000 calorie per day need, that would be a saturated fat recommendation of less than 13 grams per day. If you enjoy one cake donut, you have gone through 75 percent of the suggested saturated fat limit for the day.

Each donut has similar carbohydrate content, which is approximately the same amount that would be in two sandwich slices of bread. Because of the glazing, the glazed donut has a bit more sugar than the cake donut.

If you don’t really love donuts, you may decide the calorie price tag is too high for you to enjoy or justify, especially when you consider the time required to burn off the calorie content. Most donut stores will sell donut holes per piece… a great practice for damage control. Each glazed donut hole has 50-70 calories, so enjoying three would be a calorie savings compared to one whole. Remember to enjoy them as an occasional food, knowing that the nutritional value is fairly void.

Egg-cellent Healthy Options

The nutritional value of eggs is top notch. In each large egg, there are six grams of quality protein (all nine essential amino acids are found in whole eggs) which can sustain energy levels throughout the day. Breakfast for many is carbohydrate-rich and protein poor, including cereal, toast, large muffins or jumbo bagels. The egg is a perfect addition to breakfast because its protein is packed into just 70 calories. Eggs are a terrific source of many nutrients, including vitamins D and B12.

For at least 40 years, eggs have gotten a bad rap due to the cholesterol content of their yolks. But after many years of research, it has been concluded that the cholesterol in egg yolks is not a culprit in increasing heart disease risk or raising levels of bad cholesterol. In fact, the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has excluded the recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol.

However, each yolk contains two grams of saturated fat, so a three-egg omelet contains six grams of saturated fat.  An egg-straordinary idea is to combine two egg whites per one whole egg to decrease saturated fat, as the white has no fat content.

To add an egg to a meal or a quick snack, try boiling it. The shell is nature’s packaging, making it portable and convenient to carry to work or on the road.  As easy as boiled eggs are to prepare, peeling the egg can be challenging. To make the perfect boiled egg that is easy to peel, we offer these tips from www.incredibleegg.org:

  1. PLACE eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by one inch. HEAT over high heat just to boiling. REMOVE from burner. COVER pan.
  2. LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (nine minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large).
  3. DRAIN immediately and serve warm. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.

For easier peeling, use eggs that are 7 to 10 days old.

For more food and nutrition tips from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit our Nutrition Bites page. To learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2667.

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