03
Apr
10

OMG WTF KFC

So apparently KFC have stunned the world by announcing their “Double Down” sandwich — and I use the term loosely.  This masterpiece consists of bacon and cheese slapped between two slabs of fried chicken, with what I’m hoping is mustard mayo holding everything together.  Lookey here:

This is what we need more of: portable meat.  What that thing really needs is a couple thick slices of tomato, fresh basil, thyme, and mozza in place of what I suspect is “American”-flavoured processed cheese food.  Nonetheless, DO WANT.

Not everyone is so sanguine.

Oh, Consumerist.  You’re such simpletons kidders.  With a name like “The Consumerist”, you’d think the blog’s contributors would understand that consumption drives the market — but apparently this sammich is going to force itself down the throats of innocents and… uh, raise their cholesterol or something.  Except it won’t, as dietary cholesterol has little to do with blood cholesterol.  Let’s see what’s got Consumerist so hot and bothered:

The sandwich will be available in two forms. The Original Recipe sandwich will set you back about 540 calories, 32g of fat and 1380mg of sodium. The not-as-bad-for-you Grilled Double Down totals 460 calories, 23g of fat and 1430mg of sodium.

What is this, 2007?  I’m doing two dietary fat-phobia smackdowns in one week?  Well, I guess….

All right, you primitive screwheads: listen up!

The average recommended calorie intake for an adult male is 2000 kcal/day.  This will vary wildly depending on age, body mass, metabolism, and activity, but it’s as good a place to start as any.  The only kernel of truth in the “eating fat makes you fat” myth is the fact that fat is denser in energy than other macronutrients (fat has about 9 kcal/g, alcohol 7 kcal/g, and carbs and protein 4 kcal/g).  This makes it easier to consume a lot of calories if you’re eating fatty foods, simply because you can fit more of it in your stomach.  This probably accounts for the 540kcal (fried) and 460kcal (grilled) energy totals — note however that this one sandwich accounts for roughly one-quarter of Joe Average’s daily caloric requirements.  That’s not too bad — especially for breakfast, which ought to be a big meal anyway.

Now that we’ve dispensed with its caloric contribution, the “zomg 32 g of fat!!!!11eleventy” scare tactic ceases to be interesting… except that it lets us know that well over half of the Double Down’s calories come from fat.  In this case, that’s a good thing: fat metabolizes slowly, and you don’t want all 540 kcal hitting your bloodstream as glucose all at once.  A Double Down and a cup of coffee is starting to sound like a great way to start the day.

Where this Consumerist writer gets closer to right — and manages to screw up anyway — is the sodium content.  The same sources that will tell you to eat 2000 kcal/day will also tell you to keep your sodium intake around 2300 mg/day.  (Let’s be charitable and assume that all of these sources really do mean sodium when they say “sodium”, rather than confusing it with salt.  They don’t, but we can pretend they do and not lose the plot.)  There’s some cause to believe that this is unrealistically low, and that 3000-4000 mg/day is more likely.  Sodium, being an electrolyte, has strong correlations with hydration — so if you’re drinking plenty of water (and you should be) your salt intake should increase as well.  In any case, if we believe the 2300 mg/day figure, a single Double Down will contribute about twice as much sodium relative to daily intake as it will kcal — which is potentially bad.  The “not-as-bad-for-you” grilled version is in fact worse in this regard.

We’re ignoring all kinds of other issues, of course.  In particular, if I wanted to eat four Double Downs a day (that’s 2160 kcal — which is pretty much on target for an average sedentary male), I’d want to find a good source of dietary fibre to keep my colon happy.  But this thing isn’t a dietary disaster — compared to a side of fries or mashed potatoes and a large Coke, it’s downright salutary.

Nutrition doesn’t have to be that hard.  Food is fuel: give your body what it needs to function in sufficient quantities, and keep those in the proper proportions, and you’ll do fine.

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6 Responses to “OMG WTF KFC”


  1. April 5, 2010 at 19:43

    When I kept calories constant and cut carbs, not only did I lose weight, but my appetite fell.

    500 calories of meat and cheese?

    I burn about 3,000 or 3,500 calories per day.

    So – give me three of those, and I’ll call it lunch.

    Or, give me two of those, and I’ll call it a light lunch.

    Or, I could listen to the food Nazis, and have a mere 750 calories of pasta … and end up with higher blood sugar, a raging appetite, and a high level of crankiness.

    God bless the free market!


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