Blueberry Muffin Battle

Large Blueberry Muffin

The average coffee shop blueberry muffin is hardly what you’d call a health food: It’s got almost 470 calories—nearly double what you’d get from a chocolate frosted donut—and most of those calories come from refined carbohydrates, primarily white flour and sugar. Less than 2 percent of the carbohydrate in these mega-muffins comes from fiber, offering up only a single gram. Perhaps the healthiest thing about these muffins is the fat—19 grams worth, largely from soybean oil—a heart-healthy source. (Only one of the three national chains reviewed used butter as a fat source in its muffins.)

Reduced fat blueberry muffins are certainly no better—if not worse. With only slightly fewer calories than their regular counterparts, they still contain the same high amount of sugar (almost 40 grams, or 10 teaspoons) and nearly 50 percent more sodium (a whopping 540 milligrams per muffin!).

In comparison, the Great Muffin Makeover recipe bakes up blueberry muffins that weigh about 2 ounces each—less than half the size of a coffee shop muffin—and contain 120 calories. They are made with a mixture of whole wheat, almond, and white flour—though with further tweaking, the recipe could be made entirely without refined grains. Canola oil provides much of the healthy fat; and the number of fresh blueberries is double what you’d find in a typical recipe, providing much of the flavor and natural sweetness. (In total, each muffin only contains 5 grams of sugar, of which only 2 grams are added sugar). The result is a light and fluffy, moist and flavorful blueberry muffin that will provide longer lasting energy compared to the usual coffee shop muffin. Get the recipe.

Nutrient Regular Blueberry Muffin1 Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin 2 The Great Muffin Makeover Blueberry Muffin 3
Calories 467 410 120
Carbohydrates (g) 68 75 14
Sugar (g) 39 39 5
Fiber (g) 1 2 2
Total Fat (g) 19 10 5
Unsaturated Fat (g) 15 8 4.5
Saturated Fat (g) 4 2 0.5
Trans Fat (g) 0 0 0
Protein (g) 6 7 3
Sodium (mg) 367 540 125
  1. Average data from company websites of three major U.S. coffeeshop chains. January, 2018.
  2. Data obtained from one national coffeeshop chain. January, 2018.
  3. Data based on analysis of Blueberry Muffin recipe.


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