Doughnuts for Diabetes

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I’m a type 1 diabetic and I support JDRF.  I think it’s a fantastic organization and I’ve recently been talking to my husband, also type 1 diabetic who is training for the Rotterdam marathon, about whether we could use his marathon as an opportunity to raise funds for JDRF – the organization whose mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.   This morning, however, I thought I was reading The Onion as I read the article Donuts for Diabetes and saw this picture of the cute JDRF shoes logo topped with a doughnut.

Apparently, the second annual Krispy Kreme Challenge has just taken place.  What is the Krispy Kreme Challenge?  It’s a diabetes event centered around doughnuts. No, that doesn’t mean a bunch of people got together, ate doughnuts and tried to bring on type 2 diabetes.  Surprisingly, it was an event which took place in order to raise money for JDRF.  Krispy Kreme Challenge participants ran a mile or so, ate up to a dozen doughnuts, and then ran back.  I asked my husband, a serious runner who knows as much as anyone about balancing blood sugar levels, insulin, and exercise, what he thought would happen to him if he ran a mile ate a dozen doughnuts and then ran another mile.  “I think I would die,” he said.

On that note, let’s stop for a moment and look at this chart which includes nutritional data for Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts.

Nutritional Facts

% Daily  Value* 
 A Dozen Glazed  Doughnuts
%Daily Value *
One Glazed Doughnut
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat

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

**source: Krispy Kreme

Yes, you did read that correctly – 12 glazed doughnuts contain 2,400 calories, 264 grams of carb, and 144 grams of fat.

Now factor in this:

According to FitSugar, “Syracuse University did a study that involved 12 men and 12 women. Their caloric burn was measured when both walking (19:00 minute miles) and running (9:30 minute miles), for a distance of 1,600 meters (about a mile). The men burned an average of 105 calories while running, and just 52 while walking; the women burned 91 calories while running and 43 walking.”

In summary:  A man who completed the Krispy Kreme Challenge consumed 2,400 calories.  If he ran the course, he burned 210 of them.  If he walked, he burned 104 calories.  (And eek – 264 grams of carb in 12 doughnuts!  How much do you bolus to cover that?)

Annette Peery, organizer of the Krispy Kreme Challenge knows that some of us might be raising our eyebrows at her event.  Her comment to Eye Witness News 9, “A lot of people are saying, ’why would you be running and eating donuts for diabetes.’ She explains that type 1 diabetes is not related to obesity and physical inactivity, but rather, it’s an autoimmune disorder.  Dear Ms. Perry, type 1 diabetes might not be caused by obesity, but eating foods like doughnuts which are high in sugar, fat, and carbohydrates, are poison for all people, and especially for type 1 diabetics who are trying to avoid complications of diabetes by controlling their blood sugar and cholesterol.

It’s true, type 1 diabetics *can* eat sugar, so long as they can cover themselves with the proper amount of insulin.  But that’s not an easy thing to do.  And while almost all type 1 diabetics do sometimes eat sweets, I believe it is important to acknowledge that these foods are not good for us.  We have to avoid falling into the “equality” argument which goes something like… I might have diabetes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat just like everyone else. As diabetics, we aren’t equal.  This isn’t a matter of gender or race.  This is about survival with a very serious, chronic illness.  No diabetic of any type should be encouraged to eat doughnuts, no matter how good the cause.

Finding a cure for diabetes is no simple thing.  But keeping diabetic complications to a minimum is possible for those of us who manage –overall- to keep our blood sugar levels in the target range.  My husband and I work hard to do this.  And the way we succeed is by avoiding foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.  The formula is pretty simple:  the less sugar you eat, the less insulin you need to process it.

Meanwhile, I’m inspired.  The Krispy Kreme challenge has led me to think of other fund raising ideas.  Tomorrow morning I think I’ll approach Phillip Morris and suggest they sponsor the Marlboro Challenge to raise funds for cancer research.  Participants will run a mile, smoke a dozen cigarettes, and then run back.  Double the money for anyone who completes the course without coughing.

***Here’s a worthwhile challenge for you:  Richard Lane, President of Diabetes UK, and one of the first people in the UK to receive islet cell transplant, is challenging himself to walk 7.5 miles along Hadrian’s Wall to raise funds for diabetes research.  The walk will take place on June 19, 2010.  You can make a donation to support Richard’s challenge. To join Richard on his walk contact

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Comments (9)

  1. Chris at

    Is this for real. It sounds like something out of Animal House (yes, the movie with john Belushi). I do admit it is a challenge for a diabetic to make it back to the finish without passing out.
    Couldn’t the Doughnut shop just give some money or sponsor  an event which isn’t so unhealthy to anyone but especially diabetics.

  2. Jessica Apple
    jessica at

    Chris, how did you know?  I didn’t include this in my post, but the article did say, “The event is co-sponsored by Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity which supplied over 30 volunteers to help with the event.”
    It does seem to be “for real,” though it is hard to believe. 

  3. Jessica Apple
    jessica at

    Okay, it is real.  I went to JDRF’s site and found
    This is my favorite line from the page, ” the theme of this year’s JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes is “Freedom” (freedom from diabetes), so people are participating in this event so that those with type 1 diabetes will have the freedom to eat donuts.”
    Uh huh…freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, and freedom to eat donuts.

  4. Daniel at

    I wonder when the event will get shut down?
    Given the oddity of this, I think the study should have been from sucrose, not Syracuse University.

  5. Thanks for the info Jessica – the story came through on my diabetes Google alert and I ignored it thinking it was an JDRF affiliate harebrained idea  – but I had no idea the ‘donut eaters’ (sounds like a horror flick) were patients.  It shocks me that JDRF would approve the idea (obviously Krispy Kreme donated the goods which made it a tantalizing fundraising scheme).  I also know that there are probably some people that will be shocked that we are shocked.  (“What’s wrong with donuts?”) JDRF needs some help with understanding the idea of “on message” publicity.  Please send your link to someone at the Foundation.  As a member and a supporter – I would like to see their response.

  6. Bud at

    I guess Krispy Kreme got the headlines they wanted even though us diabetics surely could suffer in more then one way with this “event”

  7. Liz at

    I know that Krispy Kremes are unhealthful, and evil… but let’s face it: the people who are in danger of Diabetes, are not most likely to hang out at a fund raiser at the local Organic Supermarket.  As misnomer and anti-agenda as it might seem, you reach the most people at places where they will congregate the most, and since most people are ignorant enough to assume that any excess sugar = diabetes, it might even possibly get them wanting to look up more information to see if Diabetics really can have sugar, or get them  to go get tested, or god forbid, donate.  These marathons and fund raisers are NOT geared for people in control, and they are NOT meant as messages to people in control to go down a sixpack of Krispey Kremes… They are for people who rarely, if ever think about their health at all…  So it gets them thinking about people who can’t live without thinking of their health, every minute of their life, with every meal they eat.  That’s how I see it, anyway…  And I think it’s going to pay off.

  8. Gary Rudoren
    gary at

    i’m a comedy writer, and this is pure comedy (as well as pure sugar)… the Marlboro sponsorship is an inspired idea… However, let’s remember that Freedom To Eat Donuts is one of the little-known innumerated rights in the Bill of Rights, along with Freedom To Snack When No One Is Looking; Freedom To Re-Arrange The Cookies In The Box So It Looks Like You Didn’t Take One; and the visionary right (at the time) for Freedom To Order Whatever You Want At The Drive-Thru Because, Hey, You’re Already AT The Drive-Thru (capitalizations by Jefferson)…. great piece!

  9. Does a kid have to be fat to be at risk for diabetes? my little brother has such a poor diet, and my parents are not doing anything to change it. I’m so sick of it.

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***The opinions and views expressed in this blog belong to the individual contributor and not to ASweetLife or its editors. All information contained on this blog is intended for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.