Burger King has introduced a new low fat french fry with 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 210 milligrams of sodium for a value size serving. These “Satisfries” are crinkle cut and thinly coated with batter so they don’t absorb as much oil. But can a french fry actually be healthy?
No Burger King meal is complete without a side of french fries or least that’s what the fast food giant has trained us to believe over the past 30 years.
And if the grade F meat on their burger offerings doesn’t strike your fancy, french fries may be your main course in those touch-and-go times when fast food is the only option. However, I was never under the assumption that my french fry splurge was anything other than a diet misstep. Now Burger King is trying to change that image with Satisfries, low fat french fries that supposedly have 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than those offered by their nemesis, McDonald’s.
“One out of every two Burger King guests orders our classic French fries and we know our guests are hungry for options that are better for them, but don’t want to compromise on taste,” said Alex Macedo, President North America, Burger King Worldwide, Inc. “When it comes to what we eat, we know that small changes can have a big impact. We see Satisfries as one of the biggest fast food launches and are excited to bring this great tasting French fry to our guests.”
Small Steps: the Obesity Epidemic
To call these low fat french fries a ‘small’ step is putting it mildly. Other words that come to mind include microscopic, itty-bitty, and puny. Still, this isn’t the first step Burger King has taken in the past few years, reworking their menu with items like the cranberry and apple salad and the mango smoothie. They even took half of the cheese off their hamburger.
But can a company known for a menu item called the Whopper do anything other than make a population fatter? Fast food chains have done a bang up job so far, contributing to an obesity epidemic of mammoth proportions. In the U.S., one-third of adults are obese and even if you’re not, it still costs you. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 because the medical costs for people who are obese are $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
Real Change with Real Impact
When it comes to Burger King’s changes, let’s give credit where credit is due, but realize that more work is in order. Next step, reduce Burger King’s serving sizes, especially on soda, which is a leading cause of weight gain and empty calories in this country. Make refills a thing of the past. And make more vegetarian and vegan options available at fast food establishments.
But the step that’s most important of all is to make fast food a treat, not a regular part of the American diet. For road trips when there’s no other options or after a night when only hangover food will do–then maybe consider Burger King’s new low fat french fries. But otherwise, whether low-fat or not, pass on the fries and the fast food in general.
Image: Steven Depolo