The food fight over the most important meal of the day has never been fiercer. Banking on breakfast being big business, fast-food chains are introducing new breakfast items and value meals in a hungry attempt to compete for cost-conscious consumers.

“There’s a breakfast war going on,” says Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli. “You can get a real breakfast with us, or spend the same and eat out of a wrapper.”  Stephen J. Caldeira, chief global communications and public affairs officer for Dunkin’ Donuts, has a different view. “Our customers know they can come to us any time of day for the best-tasting coffee in America.”

In these tough economic times, consumers are more apt to count their pennies than their pounds. Nutritionist Alyse Levine warns that while there are new, nutritious fast-food breakfasts, there are also treats that seem healthier than they really are. “Falling for that great deal may be one of the worst things you can do for your health,” says Levine.

Dunkin’ Donuts Waffle Breakfast Sandwich, $2.99

Dunkin’ Donuts doled out more than just donuts by introducing a waffle, egg, bacon and cheese sandwich, as well as a new $100 million ad campaign.

Levin warns consumers should count more than just an item’s calorie content. “A lot of restaurants are now listing calories next to the items. The Waffle Breakfast Sandwich only has 390 calories, fewer calories than a plain poppy seed bagel, but it has 14 grams of saturated fat…that’s as much as three slices of pizza.”

In a statement, Dunkin’ Donuts says their Smart Menu offers healthier options such as a turkey sausage and egg-white flatbread sandwich with 280 calories and 2.5 grams of saturated fat.

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