The poor, unfairly maligned Double Down. Yes, that's right -- we're here to take up the dubious mantle of Double Down Defenders. What did it ever do to deserve the kind of scorn that's been heaped upon it by the media?
So it's a sandwich that doesn't have any buns. Good for the Double Down! It simply replaced all that sugar and starch and overprocessed "flour" (if you can even call it flour anymore once it's been made into the mass-produced buns that haunt every fast food chain) with a bunch of protein. Sure, protein that has a fatty, crunchy exterior, but it's closer to actual "real" food than those buns were. And if the fried chicken bothers you, you can always get your Double Down with grilled chicken sandwiching those strips of bacon and cheese.
If you do, you've just knocked the fat and calorie content of the Double Down even further, from an already pretty manageable 540 calories and 32 grams of fat to an even slimmer 460 calories and 23 grams of fat. To place this into context, a regular old Big Mac has 540 calories, too (and just a little bit less fat), but you don't see people proclaiming that the end times are near over a McDonald's burger.
Instead, what people should be focusing on is the fact that there are far worse fast food choices out there, some of which you may unwittingly make every day. It's obvious that Wendy's Triple Baconator will be the death of you. But what about a salad? What about an item that's even marked with a cute little heart symbol next to it on the menu? The hidden fat and calories in these items make a Double Down look positively macrobiotic in comparison.
Here are some of the worst offenders.
5. McDonald's Chicken Select Premium Breast Strips (5 pieces)
Look at how good you're being, ordering "premium" chicken strips instead of those McMangled McNuggets. And you're eating white meat, not that terrible dark meat! Sorry, but what you're actually consuming is 660 calories and 40 grams of fat, not to mention 1680 grams of sodium. Your bloodstream has more salinity than the Dead Sea now. Way to go.
4. Jack In The Box's Steak Teriyaki Bowl
Leaving aside for a second that anything served in a bowl in a fast food joint is usually questionable (sorry, KFC; we've got your back on the whole Double Down situation, but these are disgusting), let's instead focus on the fact that this is listed on JITB's "Healthy Dining" portion of the menu. Healthy? If 750 calories (210 more than the Double Down) and 1750 grams of sodium makes this bowl healthy, then the Double Down itself must be the equivalent of a light garden salad! Right? Well, that really depends on the salad in question...
3. Wendy's Chicken BLT Salad
Speaking of salads, this is one gut-bomb that you'll want to avoid. Sure, there are healthy salads on Wendy's menu, but this is not the salad you're looking for. When combined with the chicken, bacon, cheese, dressing and croutons (come on, like you're not going to put the croutons and dressing on it), you're looking at nearly 800 calories and a staggering 53 grams of fat. For a salad. Jesus.
2. Burger King's TenderCrisp Garden Salad
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This is even less of a salad than the poor Wendy's abomination above. Iceberg lettuce, a few cherry tomatoes and strands of carrot, plus a shitload of cheese (three different kinds!). Really, the only difference between this and a chicken sandwich is that the sandwiches don't come with carrot scrapings and usually have a bun. Once you add the salad dressing to your "salad," it gets worse: 740 calories and 47 grams of fat. Did you know Burger King offers veggie burgers? That's what you should be getting instead.
1. Arby's Market Fresh Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich
Again, an item that smacks of something "fresh" and healthy, thanks in large part to clever branding by Arby's. And how bad could pecan chicken salad really be for you? How about 830 calories, 44 grams of fat and another 1390 grams of sodium? You're better off making your own chicken salad at home (with low-fat mayo, please) if you're looking for a healthy sandwich.