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]