A Scientific Guide to Doughnuts

When you enter your local doughnut shop, what do you feel? Do you experience confusion? Disorientation? A troubling inability to quickly and efficiently choose the absolutely perfect doughnut? A recent poll1 strongly suggests that such symptoms, collectively known as Doughnut Disorientation Syndrome (DDS), occur in approximately 27.500023 %± 8% of the population at large, both in Europe (excluding Latvia and Iceland) and in North America (including Nova Scotia).

In order to prevent our readers from falling prey to any sort of doughnut induced discomfort, we have been laboring tirelessly to provide a scientific approach to doughnut interpretation. We have worked with three scientists to determine an accurate and scientifically valid method to help you make the right choice.

Germaine B. Starr, Professor of Zoology at the State University of Northern South Dakota, extols an evolutionary approach to doughnuts: “Like every other living thing, the doughnut has evolved to fill a unique ecological niche. This evolutionary process has occurred without forethought or intelligent oversight, and so the proper way to approach doughnut selection absolutely requires, in imitation of natural processes, an abnegation of rationalization. Simply allow the pressures that affect all evolutionary systems to operate, and your doughnut will necessarily fit into one of the available ecological niches. In this case, that ecological niche is likely to be your stomach (although other niches may be available).”

Isaac S. Wallace, a Nuclear Physicist at the University of South Lambeth, takes a different approach: “We now know that doughnuts are definitely not fundamental particles. Furthermore, recent research strongly suggests that all doughnuts contain the same basic elements, with carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen constituting most of the doughnut’s mass. This being the case, any doughnut can be manipulated by a simple rearrangement of its constituent parts. So it doesn’t really matter which kind of doughnut you choose. For example, theobromine, one of the major components of chocolate, has the chemical formula C7H8N4O2, which is, except for different numbers, exactly the same as the chemical formula for one of the main ingredients in wheat flour, gluten (C29H37N5O9). So if you buy a chocolate doughnut and then change your mind, turning that chocolate into something else shouldn’t be a big problem.”

Maurine R. Anderson, a Senior Fellow in Climatology at the University of Oslo, begins her approach to doughnut decisions by explaining that “doughnuts are very complex systems. Since we cannot possibly understand all the details of such complexity, the most successful approach is to use a computer model. While not completely accurate, computer models allow the best possible predictions about the consequences of different doughnut decisions.”

We hope that this expert advice leads you to a happier and more productive doughnut experience in the future.


“Wedding-Halloween Doughnuts 2014-299,” by Ryan A. Monson CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

  1. Germaine B. Starr, Isaac S. Wallace, and Maurine R. Anderson, “Doughnut Disorientation: Is it Really Real?” Review of International Security and Statistical Trends 29 (2015): 23-57½. See also P. Q. Niell, Why Doughnuts Might Ruin Your Life (Baltimore, MD: Totally Groovy Press, 2014).

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