Health Advice



Quinn on Nutrition: Thoughts on doughnuts

Barbara Quinn, Monterey Herald on

Published in Nutrition

My daughter — who loves doughnuts — forwarded an article to me titled “12 Reasons Doughnuts are Good for You” ( I chuckled and promised her I’d do some “research” on it.

She responded with a link to another piece, “Do Donuts Really Make Me Happy? Mental health and the gut microbiome” (

Now I’m fully engaged.

First, though, I had to find out why one writer calls them “doughnuts” and the other “donuts.” According to Wikipedia, "doughnut" is the traditional spelling, while "donut" is the simplified version.

So let’s get on with this important topic.

In response to his assertion that doughnuts are good for you, writer Brent Stoller’s piece starts with this disclaimer: “If you have serious health issues or have been advised against such behavior by a medical professional, this article is not for you. Listen to your doctor, not me.” Very wise.

He then lists 12 delicious reasons why we should occasionally succumb to the pleasures of doughnuts. Here are my favorites:

“Doughnuts inspire commitment. When you’re counting carbs and calories, you want to make those carbs and calories count. Not only should you not waste them on marginal indulgences, you have to be 100-percent onboard with their expense.

“There can’t be any doubt. If you choose to eat something, you’d better be all in. It’s not worth it if you’re not, because you’ll feel like a criminal when the deed is done. Fully commit, though, and you’ll savor every bite."


“Doughnuts promote progress,” Stoller continues. The reason so many diets fail, he explains, is they are relentless, which makes them unsustainable.

“Moderation is critical, both in terms of cheating (more so) and heeding (less so). Unless you’re one of those lucky cyborgs who’s forever content with a menu of kale and quinoa, you have to periodically cave to your cravings.You have to give in so you don’t give up.”

In the second article, Australian psychologist Nicole Sullivan addresses the question of doughnuts and happiness.

“Our diet affects the delicate mix of microbes (good bacteria) in the gut,” she writes. If we eat well — I assume that means healthier foods than doughnuts — “that mix produces a state of balance (homeostasis). When we achieve this balance, the body works on optimistic functions.

“Optimistic functions, are those which assume we are going to live longer. For example, we produce collagen for our skin, enamel for teeth, our hair gets shiny, we produce serotonin (a chemical which makes us feel good). Serotonin puts us in a 'good mood', it determines our appetite, enhances our memory, and aids in development of good, restorative sleep.

“The opposite occurs as well," she continues. “If we eat poorly, say for example, we binge on donuts, then our gut is off balance.”

Sorry, Pep.

Reserve your beloved doughnuts for occasional treats. Just don’t depend on them for long-term happiness.

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