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Scientist serves up doughnuts with caffeine kick

That cup of coffee just not getting it done anymore? How about a Buzz Donut or a Buzzed Bagel? You may be able to enjoy one soon, as a North Carolina molecular scientist has come up with a way to add caffeine to baked goods.
Scientist Robert Bohannon holds a doughnut covered in caffeine icing in his  office in Durham, N.C. last month.
Scientist Robert Bohannon holds a doughnut covered in caffeine icing in his  office in Durham, N.C. last month.Karen Tam / AP file
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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

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