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Doughnuts vs. Bagels: Which Is the Healthier Breakfast Option?

Nov 3, 2010

Doughnuts, even the plain kind, are perhaps one of the most fattening breakfast options available. However, that doesn't stop millions of people from indulging in these sweet treats for breakfast. On the other hand, bagels can be considered a much more traditional breakfast food than doughnuts ever will be. But while bagels only seem healthier because they are not deep-fried like doughnuts, they are surprisingly unhealthy as a breakfast option (or as an option for any time of day) and may, in fact, even be unhealthier than donuts.

Health Issues With Doughnuts

Doughnuts are not ideal for breakfast because of their high calorie content and also their high carbohydrate content. Even as a snack, they are unhealthy, so your best course of action is to limit how many doughnuts you munch on. You can eat more doughnuts if you correspondingly increase your daily exercise in order to burn off all those extra calories and carbohydrates that you are taking in, but that is not realistic for most people due to the stresses of life. A typical doughnut, such as a simple glazed doughnut, already brings with it 229 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates. Other, fancier types of doughnuts such as those with chocolate or filling will easily increase those totals by a significant margin.

Health Issues with Bagels

While bagels are generally a more traditional breakfast food than doughnuts, they are surprisingly unhealthy. They may be even worse than doughnuts in some nutritional aspects. Calorie-wise, you are basically just as bad off eating one bagel as you are eating one doughnut. For example, one basic, plain bagel has 215 calories, which is just a little bit better (but not significantly better) than the calories in one glazed doughnut. However, carbohydrate-wise, just one plain bagel takes a harder toll on you because it comes with 42 grams of carbohydrates. The real shocker about bagels is their extremely high content of sodium. Just one plain bagel can already account for a good chunk of your daily recommended intake value of sodium. A plain bagel carries with it an astounding 443 milligrams of sodium, and just a few bagels can already take you well beyond your daily intake recommendations for sodium.

Which is Healthier?

Doughnuts are just a little bit healthier than bagels as a breakfast food. The reasoning comes down to two things: carbohydrates and sodium. Again, while this can vary based on the type of doughnut that you have, carbohydrates and sodium are not as high in doughnuts as they are in bagels. While bagels have, generally, fewer calories, they are worse for you in terms of carbohydrates and sodium content. If you add additional things to your bagel--such as the ever-popular cream cheese spread--you will only add to the already higher amounts of both carbohydrates and sodium in your bagel.

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