Why doughnuts make us gain weight?


Few people can refuse to eat the most traditional Polish baking, which is doughnut [in Polish: pączek] on this special day, whish is Fat Thursday. I would even say that there is a considerable group of gourmets, who don’t stop on one. Taking into consideration the statistics from the previous years, we need to assume that we will eat in total 100 million doughnuts on Fat Thursday, which is 2,5 per capita. I don’t want to spoil anybody’s mood at the end of Carnival, but I think that taking advantage of the occasion, we need to look for the answer to the question: are doughnuts really so fatty as we often tend to say they are? If yes – what does this entail?

Doughnut “from inside”

A doughnut is a characteristic, deep fat fried yeast dough in the shape of slightly flattened roll. Taking a look at the recipe of this baking, we will quickly discover that this product is based only on the most “dietetic” ingredients: white flour, sugar, vegetable oil or grease and such additives as egg yolks, milk and yeasts. All of this forms a gut bomb. On top of that: the stuffing in the form of marmalade, jam, eggnog or pudding, icing or powdered sugar. Consequently, one doughnut which weighs only 60-70 g provides 250-300 kcal, for which we need 30 minutes of aerobic session to burn. If you eat one – OK, if you eat three – think well…

Not only calories

Eating doughnuts is conducive to weight gain and it is an undeniable fact. Importantly – not only high caloricity is responsible for their fat-gain potential. Doughnuts are the source of sugars: saccharose and starch in the form of white flour, which after eating lead to an immediate increase of glucose level in blood and the response from the anabolic hormone – insulin, which stimulates the storage of supplies in fatty tissue. The presence of a considerable amount of fat, including saturated fats from butter or grease as well as trans fats only deepens the problem, disturbing glucose-insulin balance. At the end, sugar-fat mix becomes an explosive mixture, definitely leading to weight gain.

Why do we like doughnuts so much?

As we can see, a doughnut is a condensed source of empty calories, therefore, why do we like them so much? Well, the love for sweets and fats is related to the process of evolution, in the course of which we “learned” to prefer sweet foods, providing vitamins and minerals (fruits) and fat products – being the source of condensed energy (its excess in the distant times was very hard to achieve). The combination of fats and sugars is therefore extremely attractive for us when it comes to taste, especially that fat is a great carrier of smell and its presence additionally stimulates senses.


Although I am far from encouraging anybody at the end of Carnival to refrain from eating and drinking, I think that we should do all of this in moderation. One doughnut, despite being a bomb of empty calories, does not have to be immediately stored in the belly, making us fatter. However, a few day indulgence will definitely negatively influence our body. Therefore, weakness for these baking should be humbled by eating only one symbolic doughnut in order to maintain happiness, as an old superstition say.

Posted on: August 25, 2018

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