Fact/Fiction: Are Greggs making ‘diet doughnuts’?

Old news, truthfully retold. This week we look at reports that the baking giant are making ringed treats that help with weight loss

How It Was Told

Greggs may have been raking in the pounds this year after the vegan sausage roll became a hit lunchtime snack – but  they’ve reportedly had their eye on another type of pounds.

The humble doughnut may not be a staple of many weight-loss diets but apparently the bakery chain had it in their sights when it comes to bolstering their healthy-eating offering.

Or so the stories published last week would have you believe.

Multiple news outlets reported the breaking news that Greggs had released what was dubbed the “diet doughnut” in a bid to trim waistlines and tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.

What was different about the new cakes? Well instead of a filling, there would be the less fattening fresh air option, with ring doughnuts billed as the healthy choice.

But, you may say, Greggs have sold ring doughnuts for ages. Don’t worry, we’ll get there.

First to the headlines, and where better to begin than the one that started it all. The Sunday Times’ story “Greggs creates its first ‘diet’ doughnut – by adding a hole” kicked off a feast of stories about the bakery chain.

Take The Sun’s “HOLE IN ONE. Greggs’ cheeky new plan to help weight loss? Make more doughnuts with holes” or Mail Online’s succinct attempt: “Greggs rebrand donuts with a hole in them as being HEALTHIER – saying the treats have 200 fewer calories than ones that have a filling rather than air in the middle.”

Other outlets fell into these broad schools of thought – Yahoo went with The Sunday Times’ approach, the i and the Daily Star steered away from the creation of a new doughnut, instead focusing on a rebrand of current cakes or claiming that they will be given more prominent placing instore.

But let’s tuck into these stories to find out the truth.

Facts. Checked

Greggs haven’t come up with a diet doughnut – let’s face it, if you’re going to the shop to buy a doughnut, you’ve already made peace with the fact that it won’t be the healthiest choice you’ve ever made.

But they have “extended their product range with lower-calorie options”, according to cutely named Greggs spokeswoman Wendy Baker.

The stories came from comments reportedly made by CEO Roger Whiteside at a childhood obesity conference where he said: “The ring doughnuts are between 200 and 300 calories, the ball doughnuts are between 300 and 400 calories.”

He added: “People like big cakes, not little cakes. We know that we shouldn’t be encouraging people
to eat large cakes but the problem is you have to go with demand.”

But it’s not so simple to say that if you can see through a doughnut, it’s got fewer calories in it.

Various stories claim that the glazed-ring doughnut – which is no new addition to the Greggs’ roster, weighs in at 191 calories per serving, making it the only doughnut they have that’s under the 200-calorie mark, based on information pulled from the Greggs’ website.

That page has the disclaimer that “recipes can change” and it may not be the most up-to-date information. That’s the case here: the latest information shows that the calorie count has risen to 202.

The classic jam doughnut itself comes in at 245 calories per serving, which is more than the ring alternatives. But the difference is so minor that they can be hardly be called low-calorie options. The milk chocolate ring donut is only six calories shy at 239, while it’s a similar story for the sugar strand ring doughnut at 236 calories, but the milk chocolate ring doughnuts with synthetic cream are up to 303 calories.

The bottom line is that doughnuts should be an occasional treat rather than a staple, accounting as they do for around 10 per cent of the recommended calorie intake of an adult – which is 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 calories for men.

So feel free to treat yourself, but remember – everything in moderation.

Image: Miles Cole