Krispy Kreme defends its offer of free doughnuts for vaccinated people

Customers who show a valid COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card can get one free glazed doughnut at Krispy Kreme each day for the rest of 2021. (Photo credit: Provided / Krispy Kreme)

Krispy Kreme’s coronavirus vaccination promo has sparked criticism from health professionals and people who are concerned about obesity rates in the U.S.

The doughnut company recently revealed it would start offering one free glazed doughnut to customers who can prove they have received a vaccine for COVID-19. Customers can redeem this sweet offer each time they visit a Krispy Kreme location for the remainder of 2021.

However, some critics have taken issue with Krispy Kreme’s wording in a press release that states customers can get their free doughnut "anytime, any day, even every day."

RELATED: Krispy Kreme offering free doughnut a day to anyone with COVID-19 vaccination for rest of 2021

Doctors, wellness leaders and social media users voiced their concern about the promotion and what it could mean for people during the pandemic.

Emergency room physician Leana Wen wrote a four-part Twitter thread that states "donuts are a treat that's not good for health if eaten every day." According to her caloric calculations, daily consumption of an Original Glazed doughnut could mean a 15-pound weight gain for some Americans by the year’s end.

Meanwhile, other experts have shared harsher posts about the free doughnut promotion.

"Krispy Kreme offering free doughnuts for getting vaccinated is like Marlboro offering free cigarettes for getting a flu shot. We have an obesity epidemic in this country that is killing us," tweeted former resident physician turned chief executive Eugen Gu. "Corporations that ride the COVID-19 vaccine as a marketing ploy for junk food is terrible."

RELATED: Florida expands vaccine eligibility to include residents 40 and older

Not every doctor is completely against Krispy Kreme’s doughnut promotion, though. Physician Ashish K. Jha voiced his support for offer.

"Pleased @krispykreme is offering up free daily donut for those who have been vaccinated," he wrote on Wednesday. "If that sweetens the deal for you to get vaccinated, I'm all in."

Other people have shared social media posts that argue occasional treats aren’t as harmful as some doctors have suggested. Some even went as far to say that vocal critics were practicing "fatphobia."

Despite personal sentiments, the CDC reports the American obesity rate was 42.4% between 2017 and 2018, which comes from the last study put together by its National Center for Health Statistics.

Moreover, the yearlong coronavirus pandemic has contributed to significant weight gain for Americans who have sheltered in place with a sedentary lifestyle. Multiple studies have found that obesity could be linked to higher mortality risks for people who have been infected with COVID-19.

COVID UPDATES: Download the free FOX 13 News app for ongoing coronavirus coverage and live updates

A spokesperson for Krispy Kreme told Fox News its free doughnut promotion is not meant to cause harm, but rather it is something that should be enjoyed every once in a while.

"Like many sweet treats, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are an occasional indulgence best enjoyed in moderation. And we know that’s how most of our guests enjoy our doughnuts," Krispy Kreme’s emailed statement reads. "We’re certainly not asking people to get a free Original Glazed doughnut every day, we’re just making it available through the end of the year – especially given that not every group is eligible to get vaccinated yet – to show support to those doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them."

Read updates at