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Krispy Kreme: Hold The Sugar

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, long known for its high-calorie treats, plans to offer a low-sugar doughnut to attract dieters and diabetics.

Exactly how low the sugar content would be is something only the company knows, and even in the hallowed halls of doughnut central, the answer may still be evolving. Krispy Kreme spokeswoman Amy Hughes says she doesn't know because the new doughnut is still in the early stages of development. It is set to debut before the end of the year.

One of Krispy Kreme's Hot Original Glazed doughnuts has 10 grams of sugar and 200 calories. More than half of those calories come from fat, 12 grams of it.

Krispy Kreme lover Clint Beaver says while a low-sugar doughnut is a good idea, he doubts he will be giving up on the original glazed variety.

"As for me, I'll die eating the fattening doughnuts," said Beaver, a student at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

One of his med-school friends, Nathan Painter, found the whole idea of a low-calorie doughnut strange. "It just seems odd they're trying to be healthy," says Painter, adding that he will give one a try.

The idea of offering a low-sugar doughnut isn't new for Krispy Kreme.

"We've been looking at this for some time," says Hughes.

Krispy Kreme's plans are in line with those announced recently by a number of fast food giants, including McDonald's, which is phasing out "supersize" portions of fries and drinks - except for special promotions - by the end of the year.

Fast food makers have been motivated in part by changing diet trends and lawsuits filed by consumers who contend their health has been adversely affected by high fat, high sugar foods.

Wednesday, the House passed legislation that would ban such lawsuits, on the grounds that they could bankrupt fast food chains and restaurants.

The measure isn't expected to pass this year in the Senate, where Democrats argue that the industry does not need federal protection.

The debate over the issue however seems unlikely to fade anytime soon.

In a report issued Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited the combination of poor diet, physical inactivity and obesity as a leading cause of death in the U.S. - second only to smoking.

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