How is it possible that a deep fried, sugary treat is better for us than wholesome muffins? While this may not be the case for the homemade muffins that your mom lovingly baked for you, it's definitely the case when it comes to muffins from major fast food chains. Against all logic, it seems donuts are better than muffins, and let me explain why this is.
Comparative Nutrition Facts
For the purposes of this article, let's compare two different items from Tim Horton's: the Chocolate Dipped donut and the Fruit Explosion muffin. The donut has 190 calories, 6 grams of fat (2.5 saturated), 210mg sodium, and 10g of sugar. The muffin has 340 calories, 10g of fat (1.5g saturated and 0.1g trans), 470mg sodium, and 25g of sugar.
Looking at these nutrition facts, the donut has almost half the calories and less than half the sugar than the muffin. The muffin also contains trans fats which are said to be the worst kind of fat that we are supposed to try and avoid as much as possible.
Muffins are Deceptive
You might be thinking "how could an innocent muffin be deceptive?". Well let me tell you why.
Usually when you pick up a blueberry muffin for breakfast in the morning from a fast food place, you are thinking that you made a good, healthy decision.
This can be dangerous because we tend to have the mindset where if we eat healthy the entire day, we reward ourselves with something delicious (but unhealthy) for a job well done.
Since it turns out muffins are actually bad for you, you reward yourself for having a treat, which just doesn't make sense. We are better off treating muffins like an occasional treat such as with cakes, donuts, fries, and other delicious, unhealthy foods.
Usually when you get a muffin from a fast food place like Tim Horton's or McDonald's, it's enormous and not the size that you're used to seeing in homemade baked goods. This large portion size is part of the reason why donuts are better for you than muffins. Donuts are usually pretty small so as long as you stick to just one they aren't that bad. Too much of a good thing is definitely a bad thing in this case.
Next time you think about picking up a muffin for a "healthy" breakfast keep in mind that the muffin is more of a treat than a nutritious way to start the day.