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SO GOOD, BUT GOOD FOR YOU?

Now that doughnuts and Danish are out, muffins have been making substantial inroads into the health-conscious American's diet. But are they any better for you? The Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter recently analyzed two dozen store-bought brands.

Among the findings: A bran muffin from Dunkin' Donuts had 122 more calories and one-third more fat than a Dunkin' Donuts chocolate-covered, Bavarian creme-filled donut. A Mister Donut corn muffin was found to contain as much fat as two 2-ounce Hershey chocolate bars, in addition to 354 calories and 518 milligrams of sodium.

As for fiber, most muffins were found to contain no more than you would find in half a cup of bran-flake cereal. But cereal, the Tufts analysts noted, contains less fat.

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