DD Smart: Better-for-you Choices that Keep you Running!

Posted in Nutrition Labels

Dunkin’ Donuts has dunked a toe into the healthy food waters. But is the new slogan “DD Smart: Better-For-You Choices that Keep You Running!” more fluff than good stuff?

It’s a tad hard to swallow when a donut mill like Dunkin’ — a  company that loads its customers with trans fats — starts offering foods that have at minimum a 25% reduction in fat, calories, sugar or sodium.

Forgive us for sniffing around for more than fresh-brewed coffee. The food sleuths at eBrandAid.com have learned that old habits die hard. Dunkin’ Donuts going healthy is like China going green — it’s all for appearances, right?

To test our suspicions about DD’s “new and improved” menu, we pulled out the big guns — the eBrandAid CSI (Consumption Safety Inspectors) — to go undercover as unsuspecting consumers to read the fine print on these “better-for-you” drinks and egg-white sandwiches.

We tested the DNA of these DD Smart menu items below.  Folks, only a CSI team trained in the most advanced sciences could decipher the ingredients listed for these DD Smart products! Take a look:

Reduced Calorie Berry Smoothie – Small

DDsmoothieINGREDIENTS: Yogurt (Cultured Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Food Starch-Modified, Gelatin, Pectin, Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Caramel Color, Contains Live and Active Cultures (Streptococcus Thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus), Reduced Sugar Berry SmoothieBase (Water, Blackberry Puree, Blackberry Concentrate, Blueberry Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Oligofructose, Fructose, Vegetable Protein Isolate, Citric Acid, Red 40, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Blue 1, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Water, Neutral Base (Water, High Fructose Corn syrup, Sugar, Propylene Glycol, To Preserve Freshness (Sodium Benzoate), Malic Acid, Cellulose Gum).

Egg White Veggie Flatbread Sandwich

mexican_breakfast_sandwhichCalories 290, 9 g fat, 680mg of sodium, 3g fiber, 11g protein

INGREDIENTS: Multigrain Flat Bread (Enriched Wheat Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1) Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid], Water, Whole Wheat Flour, Yeast, Sugar, Brown Flax Seeds, Soybean Oil, Salt, Millet Seed, Dough Conditioner (Calcium Sulfate, Guar Gum, Vegetable Mono-and Diglycerides, L-Cysteine, Calcium Peroxide, Enzymes), Park Grains (Oat Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Rye Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Rice Flour, Spelt Flour, Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds), Cracked Whole Wheat, Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, and Monocalcium Phosphate), Non-Fat Milk, Yeast Nutrients (Ammonium Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide), Egg White with Vegetables and Cheese (egg whites, Monterey jack cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, potato starch and powdered cellulose (to prevent caking), natamycin (a natural mold inhibitor)), diced green peppers, diced red peppers, shredded potatoes (potatoes, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate added to preserve natural color), Swiss cheese blend (Swiss cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), water, milkfat, sodium phosphate, lactic acid, salt, ascorbic acid (preservative), natural flavors, sodium citrate, xanthan gum, powdered cellulose (to prevent caking)), modified food starch (corn), diced green onions, roasted mushrooms (mushrooms, canola oil, salt, pepper), cheese flavor (maltodextrin, whey solids, natural cheddar flavor, salt), natural flavor, whole milk solids, soybean oil, dextrose with spice extractive, xanthan gum), Reduced Fat Cheddar (pasteurized reduced fat milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, annatto (vegetable color), vitamin A palmitate.

Decoding the Fine Print

Reduced Calorie Berry Smoothie – Small

DD boasts it blends real fruit into its reduced-calorie smoothie. True enough. But, this beverage is also chockfull of potentially harmful additives. In the interest of time we’ll name just a few:

We found potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, which are preservatives that when combined with vitamin C form benzene… a cancer-causing agent!

Since DD is more concerned with appearances than health, they’ve also added the color enhancers Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 5 to their smoothie. Fun Fact: The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been urging the FDA to ban these food colorings!

Apparently, the “real fruit” in their smoothie wasn’t sweet enough, so they added sucralose (another term for Splenda) and high fructose corn syrup. Does that even make sense?

This smoothie is sounding less and less smart! Why can’t they make a good fruit smoothie with nothing more than fruit, yogurt and ice?

Egg White Veggie Flatbread Sandwich

Well, the smoothie turned out to be a worse-for-you choice, but maybe the Mexican-style Egg White Veggie Flatbread Sandwich will prove smarter!

Nope. The ingredients in this breakfast sandwich are even more complex than those in the smoothie! Our CSI team broke down some of the harder-to-pronounce goodies.

  • Natamycin is an anti-molding agent found in soil.
  • Azodicarbonamide is an organic chemical known to be a possible cause of asthma.
  • Sodium acid pyrophosphate is a chemical agent that’s sometimes used to remove iron stains from leather hides.
  • Ammonium sulfate is a chemical compound commonly used as a fertilizer.

Besides these unsavory chemical additives, this sandwich also has 680mg of sodium and that equals about 30% of your Recommended Daily Allowance. Not good news for the old ticker or your blood pressure!

The sad truth is there’s nothing smart or healthy about these better-for-you choices. Now donut make your brown eyes blue?

Reality check

Dunkin Donuts was right about one thing: Their new “smart” menu will keep you running… running away from false hopes and promises. There may not be as many of them around, but your local farmers’ market beats fast food hands down!

Here’s our recommendation for a smarter, healthier breakfast on-the-go:
Grab a banana, a nutritious breakfast bar and then swing by Dunkin’ Donuts for a piping-hot cup of their delicious coffee. And, because we don’t promote complete abstinence from goodies, have them throw in a few Munchkins for good measure!

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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