Double Dipping: Doughnuts Laced with Caffeine

Double Dipping: Doughnuts Laced with Caffeine

Still sleepy after your first three double espressos? Try eating your way to wired. Caffeinated doughnuts could be the next new thing in nutriceutical fast-food to hit your drive-through or walk-up breakfast stop.

Each pastry, or bagel if you were to prefer this caffeine-delivery system, would contain a jolt worth one to two cups of coffee, thanks to years of experiments and brainstorms performed by molecular biologist Robert Bohannon.

Make way for the Buzz Donut and the Buzzed Bagel.

Bitter sweet

The challenge, Bohannon said, was overcoming the bitter taste of coffee beans ground up in the a.m. pastry: No amount of creme filling could cut it.

"I eventually worked with some flavoring experts and designed a method to mask the bitterness, which led to successfully adding the caffeine equivalent of one to two cups of coffee to the food item," said Bohannon, president of the biotechnology company Onasco, Inc. in North Carolina.

"Some people get their caffeine buzz from soda, chocolate and other sources besides coffee," Bohannon said. "The Buzz Donut and the Buzzed Bagel lets them get the caffeine buzz by simply eating a delicious pastry item."

Double dose

The delicious caffeinated doughnut will still likely come chock full of fats, particularly trans fats, and sugars. Trans fats, which behave like saturated fats, are found in many prepared foods, particularly baked goods. As they offer no nutrition and can increase “bad” LDL cholesterol, trans fatty acids are the latest targets for nutritional scrutiny.

In December, New York became the first U.S. city to ban restaurants from using artificial trans fats. Small amounts of trans fats are found naturally in some animal-based products. And Starbucks recently announced it would gradually eliminate trans fats from its baked goods.

In any case, Bohannon's edible wake-me-ups could be right around the corner. He has patented the jolt-laden pastry idea, along with the method that controls the amount of injected caffeine. Now he is shopping around for takers, and has already contacted the usual suspects.

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Jeanna Bryner
Live Science Editor-in-Chief

Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.