English Muffins – Healthier than Regular Muffins?
English Muffins are actually an American invention. They are small, round breads, prepared on a griddle, and noted for their “nooks and crannies”. These caverns are perfect hosts for jam, butter, and other decadent toppings. English Muffins were invented by an immigrant named Samuel Bath Thomas in New York in 1894.
English muffins are closer to bread than to “regular” muffins, as they are rather savory than sweet. Thomas’ English Muffins, a brand owned by Bimbo Bakeries, is perhaps the most well known supermarket representative of the genre.
A serving of one English muffin weighs 2 ounces and has 120 calories. It contains virtually no fat, and has 6 grams of protein. The majority of the calories come from 23 grams of carbs, of which 3 grams are fiber.
Here is the ingredient list:
UNBLEACHED ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR [FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, REDUCED IRON, NIACIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID], WATER, FARINA, YEAST, SUGAR, SALT, PRESERVATIVES (CALCIUM PROPIONATE, SORBIC ACID), SOYBEAN OIL, WHEAT GLUTEN, GRAIN VINEGAR, SOY FLOUR, NONFAT MILK, WHEY.
The flour used in this product is refined, not whole grain. The Farina added is a coarser type of flour that helps drive the fiber value up. Notice the sugar added, about half a teaspoon’s worth. The salt added brings the product to 220 mg of sodium, about 15 percent of the daily recommended maximum. This is considered high.
Calcium propionate is a mold inhibitor that extends the shelf life of baked goods. Similarly, sorbic acid has antimicrobial properties. Both are considered safe.
The soybean oil and flour are likely genetically modified. Wheat gluten is added to improve the chewability of the English muffin.
When compared to regular muffins, the English muffin is lower in sugars and fats, clocking in at about half the calories of the sweet muffin. However, English muffins are usually consumed with butter and jam, so the end result may be just as caloric as the sweet muffin.
If you are a fan of English muffins, buy the whole grain versions, and top with healthy spreads such as nut butters, low-fat cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs.