Buzz Donut
Karen Tam  /  AP file
Scientist Robert Bohannon holds a doughnut covered in caffeine icing in his  office in Durham, N.C. last month.
By Brian Tracey Business Editor
msnbc.com
COMMENTARY

That cup of coffee just not getting it done anymore? How about a Buzz Donut or a Buzzed Bagel? That's what molecular scientist Robert Bohannon has come up with.

Bohannon says he's developed a way to add caffeine to baked goods, without the bitter taste associated with the stimulant. Each piece of pastry is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee.

"This gives people the opportunity if they want to have a glass of milk and want to have caffeine. It will get them going," Bohannon said.

The amount of caffeine in his creations can vary, but Bohannon can easily put 100 milligrams of caffeine — the equivalent of a 5-ounce cup of drip-brewed coffee — into the treats he plans to market under the "Buzz Donuts" and "Buzzed Bagels" names.

Bohannon, who runs medical-testing firm as well as owning Sips Coffee & Tea cafe in Durham, N.C., isn't selling the amped-up baked goods yet, but he says he thinks there's demand the snacks. 

"There's some mornings that I'd like juice instead of coffee but I still want that caffeine kick," said Stephanie Harris, a customer at Sips Coffee & Tea. "So I would love to have a caffeinated bagel or caffeinated doughnut. That would be awesome."

But with waistlines and anxiety already expanding across the nation, some observers already question whether it's wise to combine two key sources of these problems — caffeine and calories.

"I see nothing positive from this," said Barry Popkin, a nutrition scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "In many ways we're creating a super caffeine generation. They're undersleeping, they consume a lot of caffeine to stay awake but they don't understand there are health effects.

Bohannon said recently began seeking patents and shopping the products to companies including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks Corp. There's no word yet on whether the companies like the idea.

We're betting at least Starbucks is going to take a pass.

Not-so bad ideas

  • Looking for an unusual last-minute Valentine's day gift for your sweetie? Well, now about treating her with an appointment an upscale London beauty salon that says it can give her hair the ultimate shine by treating it with a mixture that includes semen from thoroughbred bulls.

Hari's in the ritzy Chelsea neighborhood offers a 45-minute "Aberdeen Organic Hair" treatment that involves massaging a protein-rich mixture of bull semen and a plant root into the client's hair, a spokeswoman said.

Owner Hari Salem told media that he tried hundreds of products — including wild avocados and truffle oil — before hitting on bull semen as the elusive element in a formula for making hair look gorgeous.

"The semen is refrigerated before use and doesn't smell," Salem told the U.K.'s Metro newspaper. "It leaves your hair looking wonderfully soft and thick."

He said the treatment will be offered providing the bulls can keep up the supply.

The bulls may have to choose between treating hair or creating heirs.

  • Guests will be free to check out when they please if Hungary succeeds in converting its hulking jails into luxury hotels.

Keen to fill a hole in its budget and replace some of its overcrowded prisons with new facilities, the Hungarian government is talking to a Spanish firm interested in buying its jails in prime downtown locations.

Once home to some of the country's most dangerous criminals, the star-shaped Csillag prison in the south-eastern city of Szeged is one jail that could be sold, with the proceeds used to build a more modern, humane prison in the suburbs.

"You could do marvels with that building," said State Secretary Ferenc Kondorosi, who noted Hungary's prisons have a 138 percent occupancy rate.

We're hoping future guests will be treated better, otherwise they might actually prefer solitary confinement.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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