by Laurie Israel, Esq.
Like many Americans, I struggle with my weight. Being overweight is dangerous, because it makes one more likely to have health-related issues as we age, such as diabetes, heart disease and orthopedic problems. I have noticed that there are very few old people around who are overweight. That’s because most of them are dead.
You can give yourself a rough idea of whether you are overweight by determining your “Body Mass Index”, which uses your weight and height to calculate how overweight you are. My reading is 29, which is fairly overweight. I would need to lose 25 pounds to fall into the (high) normal range. I try to hide my weight with artful use of clothing.
I look around me, in the subway, on the street, and in the stores – wherever I go – and I see many people more obese than I am all around me. Obesity is a documented epidemic in this country. It is causing an increase in our health care costs and early deaths.
In the building where I work, there is a Dunkin’ Donuts. I am a frequent customer. Recently I noticed that they had biscuits, which I always have loved. I tried one. It tasted very good. Then I started wondering what was in it, and how many calories it had. A food analysis chart was not available in the store, but can be found at the Dunkin’ Donuts website.
This is what I found out:
Dunkin’ Donuts biscuit has only 280 calories. That’s very good. I could eat 5 of them in a day, but I’d use up my entire calorie allotment of 1500 calories. If I only eat one, I could also have lunch and dinner. If I ate the Dunkin’ Donuts blueberry muffin, I would have eaten a good part of my daily calories, because the blueberry muffin has 510 calories. I stopped eating them once I learned about their high calorie count.
The Dunkin’ Donuts biscuit contains no trans fat. That’s good. But there is also some bad news.
Of the 280 calories in the biscuit, 130 of those (46%) are from fat. This is higher than the 20-30% of calories daily from fat that a person should be eating. In addition, the biscuit has 8 grams of saturated fat. Many studies have shown trans fat to be a bad food choice for you. Saturated fat may increase blood cholesterol, and low fat diets can help you lose weight. The sodium is relatively high – 620 mgs or 26% of the daily requirement. If you’re going to eat one of these biscuits, you’ll need to watch your salt intake carefully for the rest of the day.
I wondered about the really nice buttery taste. I didn’t find any actual butter listed in the ingredients on the Dunkin’ Donuts website, but I did see a listing for “artificial butter flavor”. The chemical in this flavoring (diacetyl) has caused permanent lung damage to factory workers who are engaged in manufacturing products such as popcorn. I found no indication that ingesting small doses (as in the Dunkin’ Donut biscuit) would shorten my life span.
Copyright ©2009 Laurie Israel.
Laurie Israel is founder of Israel, Van Kooy & Days, LLC, a law firm located in Brookline, Massachusetts. She combines a family law practice with estate planning, tax, mediation and collaborative law. Laurie is currently on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council. Her writings include articles on mediation to stay married (marital mediation), collaborative practice, marriage, divorce, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. She is a frequent presenter at professional conferences.