Direct numerical simulation is a very powerful tool to evaluate the validity of new models and theories for turbulent combustion. In this paper, direct numerical simulations of spherically expanding premixed turbulent flames in the thin reaction zone regime and in the broken reaction zone regime are performed. The flamelet-generated manifold method is used in order to deal with detailed reaction kinetics. The computational results are analyzed by using an extended flame stretch theory. It is investigated whether this theory is able to describe the influence of flame stretch and curvature on the local burning velocity of the flame. It is found that if the full profiles of flame stretch and curvature through the flame front are included in the theory, the local mass burning rate is well predicted. The influence of several approximations, which are used in other existing theories, is studied. When flame stretch is assumed constant through the flame front or when curvature of the flame front is neglected, the theory fails to predict the local mass burning rate. The influence of using a reduced chemistry model is investigated by comparing flamelet simulations with reduced and detailed chemistry.