It’s here again: that hallowed day where the nation comes together to celebrate sweet, fried, sometimes icing laden circles of pure deliciousness.
To commemorate, the industry’s big players (Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme), along with smaller stores across the country, are handing out free doughnuts.
As with so many things in this life, doughnuts are complicated. The very thing that makes them delicious makes them terrible for you: sugar. So much sugar.
We’ve long known too much sugar is bad for us—the substance is firmly tied to expanding waist lines and rising obesity and diabetes rates. And yet, the American diet is laced with the stuff. Added sugar is in our beverages (soda is the most glaring culprit, but it lurks in fruit juices, alcohol drinks, and smoothies, too), in our bread, in our yogurt, in our snack bars and cereals. Once you start to pay attention, it’s everywhere, including foods you wouldn’t expect.
In 2015, the federal government included a recommended daily limit on added sugars in its dietary guidelines: less than 10% of daily calories, i.e. no more than 12 teaspoons (around 50 grams) a day in a 2,000-calorie diet. To put this in context, one Double Chocolate Doughnut from Krispy Kreme accounts for half this daily limit.
While a free doughnut can be a thing of beauty, it’s good to recognize the pastry in all its complex, double-edged glory.
Here’s a sugar rundown of today’s top deals.
The deal: One free classic doughnut of your choice with the purchase of any beverage. At participating locations.
The sugar damage:
The deal: One free doughnut, no purchase necessary at participating locations.
The sugar damage:
The deal: A free classic doughnut with any coffee purchase (when you mention National Doughnut Day). At participating locations.
The sugar damage (Note: Tim Horton’s site does not list nutritional information for every donut)