If you think a doughnut is one of the most sugar-laden breakfast choices you could make, you’d be wrong.
This isn’t to say a doughnut is ever a nutritious choice. While delicious, it’s filled with empty calories and provides you with virtually none of the vitamins and nutrients that will keep you alive, whereas something like a banana is a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B-6.
But, shockingly, a banana has more sugar than a doughnut.
Now, don’t stop eating bananas just yet. Sugars from fresh fruits and milk aren’t as warned against as “free sugars,” a term that refers to added sugar, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
But it’s important to be aware of how much sugar you’re eating. The World Health Organization recommends that only 5 percent of daily caloric intake come from free sugar, and 13 percent of calories in the typical American diet consist of it.
“Many Americans eat about five times the amount of sugar they should consume,” Natasa Janicic-Kahric, an associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, told The Washington Post.
Besides contributing to weight gain, sugar ― whether natural or added ― has a host of negative effects on our bodies: It creates a vicious cycle of intense cravings, impairs memory and learning skills, may cause or contribute to depression and anxiety, and is a risk factor for age-related cognitive decline and dementia.
So let’s take a look at how much sugar is in 13 common breakfast items that, while often more nutritious than a doughnut, contain more sugar than a glazed treat from Dunkin’ Donuts, which contains 260 calories and 12 grams of sugar.
(To be fair, not all doughnuts are created equal: An apple fritter from Dunkin’, for instance, has 420 calories and 24 grams of sugar.)
Here’s the rundown:
Dunkin’ Donuts Glazed Donut: 260 calories, 12g sugar
Dunkin’ Donuts Hot Coffee with Cream and Sugar, Extra Large: 320 calories, 44g sugar
Starbucks Chai Latte with 2% Milk, Tall: 240 calories, 32g sugar
Kellogg’s Raisin Bran: 190 calories, 18g sugar
Silk Vanilla Almond Milk (80): 80 calories, 13g sugar
Noosa Blueberry Yogurt: 280 calories, 31g sugar
Nature Valley Cranberry Almond Protein Granola: 210 calories, 14g sugar
Panera Cinnamon Crunch Bagel: 380 calories, 32g sugar
Liquiteria Mean Green Acai Bowl: 620 calories, 54g sugar
Jamba Juice Aloha Pineapple Smoothie, Small: 310 calories, 67g sugar
Banana: 105 calories, 14g sugar
Panera Blueberry Muffin with Fresh Blueberries: 460 calories, 40g sugar
Tropicana Original Orange Juice: 110 calories, 22g sugar
Mott’s 100% Original Apple Juice: 120 calories, 28g sugar
Now don’t go and replace all your healthy breakfast options with doughnuts, but keep these numbers in mind if you’re trying to keep track of your sugar intake. A doughnut every once in a while isn’t the worst thing in the world.
This story has been updated to include more details about the WHO’s recommendations for sugar intake.