Just How Bad Is The KFC Double For Your Health?

As we foreshadowed in our Takeaway Food Week instalment on chicken, KFC is releasing the Double — a burger with two pieces of chicken, bacon and cheese plus sauce but no actual bun — in Australia. Does dumping the bread make it healthier or less healthy?

Picture by djjewelz

As we noted in our post on burgers, having an occasional burger for a meal in and of itself isn't necessarily a nutritional disaster. The single most sensible thing you can do is ditch the fries and full-strength cola that comes in a combo deal, since that's what generally pushes the total kilojoule count over what you need from a single meal.

KFC's marketing for the Double (the name has shrunk from its US moniker of the Double Down) emphasises that point, pushing the Double as an "occasional" treat while stressing its alleged "manly" qualities. When I contacted KFC's internal PR to double-check the nutritional information, KFC reminded me that "The Double Original has less fat and kilojoules than a Big Mac, less fat than a Quarter Pounder, and almost half the fat of a Whopper".

That is true, but it's a somewhat qualified statement and the reality is a little more complex than that. Let's put the Double into nutritional perspective by comparing it to those burgers and a few other similar chicken options on KFC's own menu and those of its rivals:

The single most important thing you can note here is that the Zinger version is substantially fattier, and hence higher in kilojoules, than the standard version of the Double. Indeed, it's just about the worst choice kilojoule and sodium-wise on the entire list, save for the Whopper and the Spicy Cheesy Bacon Tendercrisp from Hungry Jack's.

The difference between the Double and its rivals isn't massive. While the Original Double does have less fat and kilojoules than a Big Mac, the difference isn't massive, and there's a lot more sodium in the Original Double. And there's not much difference between getting a Double and getting a Bacon & Cheese Burger from KFC, other than the obvious one of getting less protein with the latter.

The final point should be obvious, but I'll note it anyway: adding cheese and bacon bloats your burger. Every one of these chains offers a grilled chicken burger that doesn't include those options, and which is much friendlier on your waistline as a result. In that category, the Classic Seared Chicken Burger from McDonald's is the lowest-kilojoule choice.

If you still can't resist the thought of the Double after all that information, it's already on sale in Queensland, and goes on sale across the rest of the country on Wednesday March 30. Right now it's said to be a four-week deal (though Tasmania gets it for six weeks). However, the US release was extended due to popular demand, so there's no telling what might happen here, bacon freaks.

KFC Double Nutritional Information [PDF link]


    april fools joke surely???

    I first saw this product on the Colbert Report, ever since I wanted to try it.

    On the nutritional side, the high fat and protein is fine while it is also relatively low in carbohydrates.

    On the food quality side it probably is crap like all fast food, but this may be a decent option to those following a high fat/protein diet.

    All it needs is (lots) more bacon and to be dipped in chocolate and you've got an episode of Epic Meal Time.

      Didn't you ever see that one where they made their own version of this, it was fucking awesome.

    Bring it on. Going to have it for lunch tomorrow.

    I've heard somewhere it is the calorific equivalent of 4-5 Tim Tams, or a small packet of peanuts.

    That said, OMM NOM NOM NOM!

      So I could eat 2 of these instead of my usual full packet of tim tams in the afternoon and still be ahead. Hmmmm. Looks like I'll be moving me cholesterol check up to tomorrow moring to take advantage.

    It's every man's dream to eat cheese and sauce jammed between two hunks of fried chicken.

      You forgot the delicious fried bacon!

    without a doubt i'll be chasing one :D

    Not as bad for you as other burgers, perhaps. But just LOOKING at it put some extra pounds on me. I know it's just a mental thing, but forgoing the bun makes me think it's unhealthier than it actually is. If KFC wanted to put my mind at ease, they would have added the bun, then told me it was wholegrain.

    Once I would have jumped at the chance to try one - Now the thought of it makes me nauseous..... strangely enough, it;s a nice sort of nauseous feeling to have.

    I would purchase one on my cigarette break because KFC is just 1minute across the road, but I cannot stand the bacon they make. It is microwaved and tastes like rubber. But I reckon a winnie blue and one of these would be a match made in heaven..

      +1 on the bacon issue. If they actually grilled the bacon rather than dropping a cold slice of pre-cooked rubber on it'd be a far more exciting prospect.

      I'll probably still eat one anyway...

    OMFG... i want one of these so badly... but i bet that they only release this for the easters states and not SA.

      Sorry... My bad... Eastern states.

        The press announcement does suggest it's nationwide.

    Finally......I have been waiting for this.

    I want it now! Too bad my closest kfc is 120km away.

    eh... I'll just take some pieces of Original Recipe, thanks.

    Never understood all the bacon and cheese with chicken crap. I go to KFC to get actual KFC.

    Im going to try this.. in a bun!

    Think I'll need to replace the bun with 2 pieces of chicken. In fact if they still sell those buckets of chicken i'll throw in some cheese and bacon in the bucket to glue it all together for the real "ultimate" meal.

    haven't they had these in America for a year already?

    If I am going to die while eating, Let is be this awesome monstrosity.

    So as promised (to my stomach), I had one of these for lunch and..... it was AWESOME.

    If I ever start getting full i'll often discard the bun or wrap and just eat the chicken. This saved me the trouble. There was plenty of chicken and then some added flavour.

    For anybody who is outraged, it really is no different than a Cordon Bleu or a chicken parma. Am definitely going to go back for another one at some stage. It's not an "all the time" food but as a treat it was delicious.

    P.s. Zinger all the way.

    Oh and they also sell a meal deal which is 2 boneless fillets, chips and a drink and there was never any outrage over that. This simply puts it together with some cheese and bacon.

    Cant wait to try it out

    Had one today. It was like eating delicious, delicious poison.

    OMG it is sooo good. Totally awesome

    Wait...a ZINGER DOUBLE? Holy crap, I am so there.

    Forget the Original one, go straight for the Zinger Double Down.

    Amazingly orgasmic (and low carbs too!).

      I don't think low carbs offsets the 600 extra Kj in any meaningful way ;)

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