Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How healthy is "healthy"?

Mmmmm Donuts
The above picture is a real product, recently announced by Dunkin' Donuts. As you can see, it is an egg and bacon sandwich served on a glazed donut sliced in half. It's quite brilliant really, but I don't want to evaluate this on it's culinary merits. Instead, I want to take a look at some of the efforts made by Dunkin' Donuts to help their customers make "Better-for-you choices that keep you running." Now the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich is not one of these "better-for-you choices," but what is surprising is that, at 360 calories, the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich has 30 less calories than one of these DDSmart choices, the Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, which has 390 calories. Furthermore, the Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich is advertised on the Dunkin' Donuts website with the following copy:

Turkey Sausage Done Right

Eating right can still taste great. Our Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich is under 400 calories, and big on taste.
The clear implication here is that the Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich is "right" and is a "smart" choice (or at least "DDSMART"), but it is, in many respects, a less healthy choice than the Glazed Breakfast Donut Sandwich. We can certainly argue about what counts as "healthy." The Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich has less fat and sugar and more protein and fiber, but it is also higher in sodium and cholesterol than the Glazed Breakfast Donut Sandwich. The point is, it is very misleading for Dunkin' Donuts to identify one item as "smart" or "right" (as near as I can see they don't ever use the words "healthy" or "healthier"), because this creates the impression in an uninformed consumer that by eating this piece of junk food they are being healthy. This highlights the importance of applying critical thinking to all aspects of our daily life, as well as the importance of understanding how words are defined and used. The folks at Dunkin' Donuts (or their ad agency) are purposely using deceptive language and Weasel Words to create the impression that eating some of their products is part of a healthy lifestyle; a claim that is controversial at best.

h/t to the New York Daily News

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.