Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Kate: Do you eat donut?

Dear Kate,

I'm a donut lover. Recently I found all these emails telling us not to eat donut made by some favorite donut makers. The reason is, they use preservatives and hence bad for your health. I've been an addict of one particular brand. It's a chain and very popular. Whenever I go there I have to wait in a long line before I get my donut, but trust me, the donut is worth the queue. Now these emails make me rather worried. I know you're no expert on health and all that, but what do you think?


Donutlover @ Jakarta

Dear Donutlover,

As you said, I don't know anything about health, nutrition, etc. My main tool is economics and here is my take. First, a big brandname with reasonable competition would be very careful so as not to disappoint its patrons. In the case of food and beverages, this includes especially issues related to health. Second, adding a material or ingredient in production means more cost. So if one producer can make a tasty donut with no or less preservative, the second would be foolish to produce equally tasty donut with or more preservative. Third, you mentioned that you always have to stand in line to get your donut. That's a good sign. It means they are more likely to come up with freshly made donuts. In other words, their donuts don't need much time between oven and your mouth. Why need (more) preservatives if that is the case? Four, from what I heard, every donut has preservative. It's a matter of how much. But then, see the preceding three points. Finally, let me tell you that everything entails risk. But avoiding risk completely means you have to stop consuming everything.

So, if I were you, I would ignore those emails. Enjoy your donut. I'll join you next time.



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