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Top 12 Dangerous Muffins

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Top 12 Dangerous Muffins

Even though most of us know that, really, muffins are just cupcakes for adults, for many they are still the go-to to-go breakfast. Faced with the choice between a meaty-eggy fast food sandwich and a muffin, it’s pretty safe to assume that the healthy eater will  opt for the muffin. But is it really the healthier option? Looking at the nutritional content of muffins from the country’s top coffeehouse chains, I was shocked (shocked!) to see some of the numbers behind many an earnest-seeming muffin.

Although muffins don’t carry the same load of saturated fat and outrageous levels of sodium that other fast-food breakfasts do, they make up for it in calories and sugar. Would you believe that one of the muffins I found has only 40 calories less than that of Carl’s Jr Breakfast Burger–which is not just a burger, but a burger with a fried egg, bacon, American cheese and hash brown nuggets!

The World Health Organization recommends limiting sodium consumption to under 2000 mg per day for the average person–most of these muffins have at least 25 percent of that. Meanwhile, the American Heart Association recommends that the average woman should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day–all but one of these muffins exceed that, some by more than 100 percent. And as for calories, well…the calories. The most benign of these muffins has almost the same amount of calories as an Egg McMuffin with a side of hash browns.

Though in all fairness to the muffin, the lack of meat and saturated fat does make them shine in comparison to, say, the breakfast burger–just be cognizant that by opting for one of these (or similar) muffins in the morning, you should skip dessert after dinner since you’ve already had it for breakfast.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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3:23PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013


9:07PM PST on Dec 29, 2011

Ok, thanks God I don't like muffins... I hate them x.x but it's really scary the amount of calories on them... :S

11:01AM PST on Dec 27, 2011

WOW! I'm blown away! I usually choose a muffin over a bagel or doughnut! Guess I'm probably better off just having what I really want! What gets me is the names - I would (and have) fallen for every one thinking it was a better choice!

12:03AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Huge, gigantic muffins? Yes, these should be healthy!

6:19AM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

Excellent article. Thanks for sharing.

11:32PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

I knew they were high in calories but I am SHOCKED that a muffin can hold over 700 calories, and more than a day's serving of sugar, as well as more than a meal's worth of fat and sodium.

5:07AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

over processed, overtly sugared and fatted ... could this describe the American Consumer? these muffins are definitely an indulgence ... thanks for the info!

12:52PM PST on Dec 28, 2010

guess I'll stick to making my own...

10:40PM PST on Dec 14, 2010

Saintly Bran Muffins paved the way for these health food impostors and condensed cakes, to sneak in to our health food consciousness. Thanks for bringing us the facts.

10:17AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

love muffins.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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