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Krispy Kreme and Denny's battle the North American underweight epidemic!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD
A dozen doughnuts during a charity run and free country-wide Grand Slam breakfasts are likely not going to help the bulging waistlines of North Americans.

Since obesity prevalence in North America is the highest it has ever been (approximately 2/3 of US and Canada are overweight/obese), it is important that all organizations combine efforts in an attempt to curb the problem. Unfortunately, certain companies such as Krispy Kreme and Denny’s may actually be going out of their way to exacerbate the problem.

Take for example the Krispy Kreme Challenge – an annual race for charity organized in South Carolina. The event has grown exponentially since its inception in 2004, and just last week, approximately 5000 competitors were involved in the challenge. While running 4 miles may be a challenge for some, this actually entails the easy part of the process. Here is the detailed description of the event provided on the Krispy Kreme Challenge website:

“Beginning at the NC State Belltower, each runner runs 2 miles to the Krispy Kreme store located on Peace St. in Raleigh. After downing a full dozen of the famous Krispy Kreme doughnuts, the runner must run the two miles back. All in one hour.”

According to the not-so-fun “Fun Facts” on the website, each runner will consume the following during the race (contained in a dozen original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts):
- 2400 kcal total
- 1200 kcal or 144 g of fat
- 120 g of sugar
- 1140 mg of sodium

Given that the runners will expend somewhere around 400-600 kcal during the event, they will end the race with approximately 2000 more calories than they started with – half of which is fat – that has got to feel good!

But since it is for charity, that makes it kosher, right?

Well, not exactly, but at least some good has come from the event – over $30 000 raised for the local Children’s Hospital. On the other hand, the free Grand Slam breakfast give away by Denny’s last week doesn’t even benefit a good cause.

That’s right – a free 800 kcal breakfast for all Americans was handed out last Tuesday at every Denny's franchise - the implications of which have been previously discussed by fellow blogger Yoni Freedhoff of Weighty Matters. See the advertisement below.

And here is a heart-warming follow-up to the event from a local news station reporting on the 2000 happy customers served at one Denny's franchise:

We are doomed...


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1 Response to "Krispy Kreme and Denny's battle the North American underweight epidemic!"

  1. Darya Pino Said,

    Ha ha. This reminds me of the American Heart Association's fundraiser a few weeks back that was giving out hot fudge sundaes.


    Posted on February 12, 2009 at 4:40 PM


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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