death rings

Over at Rebel Yell, Stoney laments his body’s ever-increasing storage space and then praises his discovery of bagels (and Bruegger’s, to be specific):

Several years ago, I discovered that I like bagels. They’re not near so full of bad stuff as a regular breakfast, you can eat them any time of the day, and there was a bagel shop right close to work. My favorite was an onion bagel with olive-pimento cream cheese.

Bagels aren’t so full of bad stuff as a regular breakfast? Maybe 30 years ago. There was a time when a bagel was a little hunk of fiber and carbs. These days they are giants the size of your head loaded with sugar: a glorified donut. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

1 Bruegger's Onion Bagel -- Source (PDF) 1 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut -- Source (PDF)
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 bagel (117g)
Amount per serving
Calories 310
Calories from Fat 20

% Daily Value

Total Fat 2g 3%

    Saturated Fat 0g 0%

Cholesterol 0g 0%

Sodium 540mg 22%

Total Carbohydrate 62g 21%

    Dietary Fiber 4g 15%

    Sugars 8g

Protein 12g

Vitamin A 0 %     Vitamin C 2 %

Calcium 2 %     Iron 20 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your
daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Doughnut (52g)
Amount per serving
Calories 200
Calories from Fat 110

% Daily Value

Total Fat 12g 18%

    Saturated Fat 3g 15%

Cholesterol 5mg 1%

Sodium 95mg 4%

Total Carbohydrate 22g 7%

    Dietary Fiber less than 1g 2%

    Sugars 10g

Protein 2g

Vitamin A 0 %     Vitamin C 2 %

Calcium 6 %     Iron 4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your
daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

(Note: I realize that the portion sizes are different. The bagel is about twice as big, but I also left off the cream cheese. I am just comparing the choice of either as a meal, using a Bruegger’s bagel because Stoney mentioned them, and a Krispy Kreme glazed donut because they are the Dark Lord & Master of junk food. Note that even if you ate two donuts, you’d still only be getting 2/3 the carbs of the bagel.)

So there you have it. Keep in mind that the bagel numbers are before it’s slathered in cream-cheese, which I assure you will obliterate any advantage in fat quantity that it has (not that that really matters). I also like how in the ingredients (not shown) for the bagel, the only sweetener they list is “malt syrup”. Doesn’t quite catch your eye like “sugar” or “corn syrup”, does it? This sort of purposefully misleading aliasing is not uncommon.

You might as well have a donut. But, they’re two sides of the same coin (a very fat coin). The point is that when you are trying to lose weight, sacrificing fat for a double-portion of carbs hurts more than it helps. Your blood sugar spikes, your insulin goes out of whack, and dieting becomes quite a chore. Most people these days are increasingly slow to realize that your refined carbohydrate intake is just as important (if not more) than your fat intake. Stick with the eggs and bacon. It’s good for you!

To me this sort of comparison best represents the epitome of the misconceptions about nutrition in this country. A donut is considered the most reviled form of junk food there is, yet a bagel is healthy, for some reason. People are systematically mislead to buy into the low-fat model for weight-loss. It’s a very frustrating path to follow (I’ve certainly been there), and you’ll get nowhere. Meanwhile, myths abound about the great success of low-carb dieting and its implications on the world of health and nutrition.