Friday, February 11, 2011

Fast Food Worse For You Than The KFC Double Down

Everyone’s been talking about this insane sandwich that KFC has put out. I argue you can’t have a sandwich, proper, without bread, but the concept of two pieces of chicken filled with sauce, cheese and bacon is certainly scintillating.

I haven’t had the chance to chomp down on one of these suckers yet, but I intend to. I decided to see if there was any fast food worse for you on the market and it turns out there are tons. What could be worse than this gluttonous monstrosity? Check it out.

Before we start, where does the double down stand? It weighs in at 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,380 milligrams of sodium.

I suggest you discontinue reading this if you’re hungry.

5. The Baconator

The Baconator was released in 2007 and has since become a staple of the Wendy’s fast food franchise. In an attempt to lure in 18-34 year old males that hate anything healthy, including veggies, they created a hamburger that was composed of two four ounce patties, two slices of American cheese, six strips of bacon and mayonnaise and ketchup for condiments.

It became very popular very quickly and is now offered in several variations, including a single patty, the original double patty and now an even more heart-stopping triple patty burger. There was also a special, limited edition Spicy Baconator which had pepperjack cheese, jalapeno peppers and chipotle sauce.

So how does the Baconator stack up against the Double Down? It has a whopping 830 calories, 60g of fat and 2260mg of sodium – and that’s just the original double patty version.

4. Double Whopper

Since it was first introduced in 1957, the Whopper has been one of the most popular and best known sandwiches in the fast food market – and the title sandwich of Burger King (known as “Home of the Whopper”) and their Australian restaurant Hungry Jacks.

The basic Whopper comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mayo, ketchup and one quarter pound patty. It has been presented in a plethora of variations. A few highlights include:

  • The Pinata Whopper, with jalapeno peppers, nacho chips and hot sauce. They are inexplicably only sold in Sweden and Denmark.
  • The Mustard Whopper, which is simply mustard instead of mayo… I can’t imagine why that demands a special title.
  • The Alfresco Whopper, topped with avocado and aoli sauce instead of mayo and ketchup, as well as two slices of cheese and three slices of bacon (which sounds freakin’ delicious). This one is for the Hungry Jacks crowd.
  • The Meat Beast Whopper, loaded with bacon, cheese and pepperoni and only available in the US, UK and Ireland.

The Double Whopper is one of the basic variations on the class, including two patties instead of the standard one. Where does it stand in the nutrition race? It comes in with a whopping (teehee) 990 calories, 64g of fat and 1520mg of sodium.

I would’ve compared the original Whopper to the Double Down, but it didn’t quite exceed it in the sodium department. Here’s the score, just for those wondering: 670 calories, 39g of fat and 1020mg of sodium.

3. BK Original Chicken Sandwich

I figured I should compare a chicken sandwich, considering the basis of this list is from KFC. I’m not trying to pick on BK, but this was the first one that came to mind.

Introduced in 1978, the Original Chicken Sandwich was brought in to try and entice the young adult market that was willing to pay a little more for a better product. As per usual, BK was trying to fend off McDonald’s – the fast food giant – and also keep the then relatively young Wendy’s at bay.

It’s a simple sandwich: a fried chicken patty, mayo, lettuce on a Kaiser bun. It has also had a bunch of variations, but it has been my opinion over the years that they are all awful so I won’t be mentioning them here.

What’s the damage this baby will have on your heart? The OCS is loaded with 660 calories, 40g of fat and 1440mg of sodium.

2. Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese

You know I had bring up McDonald’s in this list. Personally my favourite (standard) sandwich they offer is the Double Quarter Pounder, so I wanted to research this one. I’ll let you know where the Big Mac stands at the end, because I’m sure you’re all wondering.

In the 70s McDonald’s started looking at some new menu items, again to bring in a new market share of young adults. During research they saw that there was a gap in men that wanted more meat in their meat to bun ratio, so the Quarter Pounder with Cheese was born. Its toppings are two four ounce patties, two slices of cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard.

As is always the case with men, adding a new patty is always a good idea, so a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese – as well as a Double Big Mac – were permanently added to the menu at a later date. Interesting note: McDonald’s has a sandwich known as “The Pounder” that is not on any menu, but can be asked for in several countries, which includes four patties, five pieces of cheese and the standard veggies and condiments. In Australia, you have to ask for a Double Quarter Pounder with two extra patties, but you can get the sandwich.

Wanna know what’s in the Double QP with cheese? It has 740 calories, 42g of fat and 1380mg of sodium.

For the Big Mac kids: 576 calories, 32.5g of fat and 742mg of sodium.

1. Wendy’s BLT Chicken Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing

The next time you're at Wendy's and you think, “Oh, I should just be healthy and have a salad,” you will think twice.

Although Wendy’s is just as much a burger joint as their major competitors Burger King, McDonald’s or A&W, they have attempted over the past few years a faux-healthy wing offering items like baked potato, chili (which is filled with burger meat, by the way) and salads. They were, however, the first restaurant to offer salads in 1979, which led to their Garden Sensations line in 2002.

One of the popular salads offered in this line is the BLT Chicken Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing. You might think that at least you’re having a salad instead of a burger and fries. Before I even outline the caloric destruction this salad offers, I want you to think about it for a second. This salad consists of lettuce, a chopped up fried chicken patty and honey dijon dressing. It’s basically a chicken sandwich with dijon mustard, sans the bread.

So where does the BLT salad stand: 720 calories, 50g of fat and 1610mg of sodium. It is basically worse than any of the single, original burgers and chicken sandwiches you can get at any of the fast food restaurants you probably frequent.

So, there you have it. Everyone is up in arms about the Double Down because it rocks two pieces of chicken instead of bread. The thing is, in comparison to the standard burgers you’ve eaten since you were a kid, the Double Down is actually – and I say this only in context – the healthier of the fast food choices. You can now feel no shame when you walk into a KFC and buy yourself this pseudo-sandwich.


kingshearte said...

I have pretty much always taken a head-in-the-sand approach to all fast food I eat (and intend to continue doing so), so my objection to the Double Down is less about the health issues, and more about the logistics. The point of a burger/sandwich/whatever is to be able to grab the thing in your hand and eat it. You don't need a plate, cutlery, etc. That's really what the bread is for. It's an edible handle, basically, like the crust on your pizza. So my problem with the Double Down is that it doesn't have a useful, non-disgustingly-greasy way to hold it while you're eating it. And no, a paper wrapper doesn't count.

Ryan said...

Oh, there's definitely no clean way to eat that sucker. I think the demographic they're aiming for care very little for greasy hands and appearances, haha.

Cole D'Arc said...

let me know when you're going to tackle the Double Down. i want to witness it.

Shane said...

It's amazing and shocking how a sandwich like the double down, with all it's "food abomination hype", is in reality not as unhealthy as the stuff people would eat instead.

Fascinating list. Number one surprised me, though I remember ordering those salads in the past and being horrified by the nutritional info on the salad dressing alone.

Kingshearte, I agree that the added factor that makes the Double Down unappealing is the lack of a proper way to hold it. It's like if KFC began selling it's chicken bowls without the bowl. If you stick the double down between two buns it's somehow less offensive. If that's how they had sold it from the beginning it would have got a fraction of the attention. Which was the point, of course.

Cole D'Arc said...

i just had my first ever Baconater (single, of course) and, man was it ever good. here's to becoming obese!