Even as fast food chain KFC celebrates the 70th anniversary of its signature Original Recipe worldwide, the latest addition to its menu is hogging all the limelight. The Double Down sandwich, launched on April 12 in the US, comprises of two thick slabs of breaded, fried chicken breasts, between which are placed strips of fried bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise. Since its launch, blogs and social networking sites have been abuzz with animated debates on its potential health risks.
‘Heinously unhealthy’, ‘offensive’, ‘artery-clogging goodness’, and ‘glorious gluttony’ are just some of the epithets being used to describe it. On Twitter, ComixBookGirl writes: “The sandwich makes my stomach turn.” “I like the nickname ‘doubled over’. I offer ‘double by-pass’ as another alternative,” writes a reader in response to an article on National Public Radio’s health blog. On the LA Times blog, a reader writes, “I could feel the grease burning my throat... and just shutting down my heart immediately.”
Others disagree. “I think it’s a cool idea,” writes Tom Bayonne in response to an article on a New York Times blog. Rick Younger, a Twitter user who sampled the sandwich wrote, “If I should die tonight, let the record show that I died happy!”
It’s not the calorie count, but the high sodium and protein content that has health-conscious foodies aghast. According to KFC’s website, the fried sandwich (it’s also served grilled) has 540 calories, 53 gms protein and a whopping 1,380 mgs sodium per serving.
Nutritionist Dr Shikha Sharma says, “It sounds like they’re trying to encash upon people who follow the Atkins Diet. (High protein and sodium makes the sandwich) extremely unhealthy for joints, the liver and the heart, though it might give temporary weight loss for some time.”
Asked whether the Double Down will be introduced in India, Unnat Varma, director (marketing), Yum Restaurants India-KFC, says, “We’re a global company and depending on whether it is a success, it’ll be introduced in stores around the world accordingly.”