Boiling Point: Chicken sheds ‘healthy’ reputation
If you still have a notion that chicken is relatively healthy fare, compared to burgers, you are misguided.
Consider Burger King’s Tendercrisp sandwich — 780 calories and 43 grams of saturated fat. That’s nearing the count for BK’s wrenching Triple Whopper.
Then add the 1,730 milligrams of sodium.
The Tendercrisp is making more than fat people. It is a player in the fast-food chicken war to see how much fat you can pump into the once noble bird.
McDonald’s Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich offers a contrast — a fat-encrusted buttered bun. This lands 420 calories in your stomach plus 17 grams of fat and 1,030 milligrams sodium.
The most unique result, more remarkable than any common chicken sandie, is KFC’s Double-Down. Two fried chicken breasts, some Colonel’s mystery orange sauce, two slices of microwaved bacon and Pepper Jack cheese. This rings up 540 calories, and the bottom of the bag is soaked with grease. That’s 32 grams of fat.
And then the sodium rears its ugly head at 1,380 milligrams.
Double-Down manages to make chicken almost exactly as diet-conscious as a Big Mac. It accomplishes this feat while offering no bread. D-Ds are served naked in paper envelopes. There’s no way you’re going to avoid grease all over the place.
I’d give Double-Down the nod for Fast-Food Farce of the Decade. When I first saw the TV ads, I thought they were a joke.
I couldn’t resist, even though they didn’t seem to be flying out of my KFC. They cost more than $5 alone, $6.99 for a combo. You can get a nice chicken dinner with sides for that.
I bit in and discovered these guys are really HOT, especially the cheese. The flavor is very good if you like anything fried.
KFC advises, “Don’t feed your hunger, crush it.” That’s exactly how I felt after doing the D-D.
Postmortem: This sandwich eats right through my Prilosec, resulting in some major heartburn. The next morning, I felt like I had a bowling ball in my stomach, a fat hangover.
I don’t understand KFC. It anticipated the outrage over the D-D, so offer it in a grilled version that cuts the calories to 460. Get this: At the same time, they managed to increase the sodium to an alarming 1,430 milligrams, more than half your sodium recommended allowance for the day.
Not one to sit idly, Taco Bell is heavily advertising its Bacon Ranch Tortada, a tortilla with marinated chicken meat, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon (we must have bacon) and an avocado-ranch sauce. The envelope please: 570 calories, 24 grams of fat, 1,870 milligrams sodium. Am I missing something here? This thing has vegetables.
I’m thinking, "This is insane." So I head over to Chik-fil-a. I’ve always thought their food is responsible and very good, even though I hate going to the mall for it.
Their standard sandwich comes in at 410 calories, 16 grams fat and 1,300 milligrams sodium. At least it’s headed in the right direction.
At Subway, the foot-long chicken sub is 640 calories, 9 grams fat and 1,490 milligrams sodium. Of course, one sandwich can feed two, so things look a lot better.
If you’re standing there at the counter tempted by any “healthy” chicken concoctions, just be wary. I’m rather astounded at the fast-food response to Mrs. Obama and her fat-kids campaign. I feel for the chicken breast undergoing such a torture.
Incidentally, that chicken breast, simply grilled, is 120 calories, 1.5 grams fat and 104 milligrams sodium. It costs less than $2. Roll out your grill for your own chicken fix.
Jim Hillibish writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at email@example.com.