A field guide to the fast food favorite

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from KFC

KFC’s most iconic sandwich is back and it’s been all the craze the past few days. The Double Down sandwich is made of all meat—two crispy fried chicken fillets without a single bun in sight—along with two strips of bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise. For protein lovers and hungry carnivores, this literal chicken sandwich sounds like heaven. But, you might want to take a second look before stuffing your mouth with this crazy fast food favorite.

Some people have dubbed it as the ultimate protein snack, but if it isn’t obvious yet, the truth is that the recently rolled out Double Down is a fat and salt bomb, being made out of a total of 570 calories and 45 percent fat. According to Timesunion, that’s 60 percent of a day’s maximum sodium intake and half a day’s ration of saturated fat. 

That’s already a lot to take in, but if you consider the other items that usually go with a fast food sandwich—fries, ketchup, and maybe some soda—you’re in a for a serious fast food overkill. Of course, the Double Down’s reputation as a caloric monstrosity isn’t exactly a secret. Critics have panned the sandwich, calling it “frightening,” and accused it of being a “sad cry for media attention.” The sustainability advocate TreeHugger even called it “the vilest food product created by man.”

All that has got us thinking: What exactly goes into a Double Down sandwich?

According to myfitnesspal.com, one serving of KFC Double Down contains the following:

                            

What It Does to Your Health

High sodium content can contribute to high blood pressure and kidney disease, while the fat and cholesterol content can lead to more disturbing health ramifications: higher risks of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Plus, it requires a lot of work to burn all those calories. To burn all the calories of one Double Down (again, that’s 540 calories), you need to do at least one of the following:  1.3 hours of cycling, 55 minutes of cycling, or 3.3 hours of cleaning.

To be fair though,  the Double Down–if held up against other fast food items–is actually not as “unhealthy” as it seems. In unofficial rankings of fast food’s most unhealthy menu items, the calorie content of Double Down almost seems forgivable. A single serving of Burger King’s Triple Whopper has 1,160 calories, while Wendy’s Baconator has about 980 calories. 

So, at best, a Double Down can be a nice cheat meal. Remember, though, that there are a lot of delicious healthy options out there. Although it may seem at times that the words “healthy” and “delicious” are mutually exclusive, know that there’s a wealth of options that effortlessly meet those two requirements. We’ve written about these healthy, delicious, and even indulgent alternatives to fast food—here’s a guide:

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