I Doubled Down And Lived To Tell

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If you’re reading this post, it means I survived eating one of the new Double Down sandwiches from KFC.

After learning a few weeks ago that KFC would begin offering the Double Down nationwide on April 12, I made plans to try one. But first, given the hysterical health warnings prompted by KFC’s announcement, I put my affairs in order: I made sure my life insurance was paid up and placed a copy of the policy on my desk. I had an attorney update my will. I called my mom to tell her she was a great mother. I also tucked away a note for my wife, telling her I’d understand if she remarried after a reasonable grieving period — say, 25 years.

If you’re not familiar with the Double Down, here’s a KFC commercial introducing it:

Bacon, cheese, and fried chicken … not exactly new ingredients in fast-food restaurants. Apparently the impending rise in fatalities will be caused by — egads! — serving a sandwich with no bread. That probably explains why Michael Jacobson of CSPI isn’t already throwing a public hissy-fit about the Double Down: he can’t use his trademark “heart attack in a bun!” line. I picture him in front of a mirror somewhere, trying out alternates: “Heart attack in a breast! No, dangit, that doesn’t work! Heart attack NOT in a bun!”

Jacobson aside, I’m sure you can imagine the reaction among the usual anti-fat hysterics. Actually, you don’t have to imagine the reaction, because I found plenty of headlines and quotes:

On April 12, KFC’s Double-Down Sandwich Will Bear Down Upon Us Like a Train Without Brakes

KFC’s Bacon Sandwich On Fried Chicken “Bread” Starts Killing People Nationwide April 12

The Double Down Proves Once Again That KFC Wants Us All Dead

The KFC Double Down: One Sandwich To Kill You All

KFC’s newest “sandwich” is a heart-stopping creation that seems literally to die for.

Well KFC has heard your demands, and has started facilitating quite possibly the food equivalent to a WMD.

Corporate America has officially lost its buns. Fresh off the signing of the historical Health Care Legislation, Corporate America decides it’s time to ‘Double Down.’

Excuse me? What does forcing other people to pay for your health insurance have to do with improving health? If you can name one provision in the “historical” health-care legislation that will actually make people healthier, please share.

Why pay one angel’s hair of attention to what Michelle Obama, Jamie Oliver, and those killjoys at the American Heart Association are telling you when KFC keeps giving us moist, crunchy ways to kill ourselves, one bite at a time?

I can come up with plenty of reasons not to take health advice from Michelle Obama or the American Heart Association, but I’ll just mention one here: they have no flippin’ idea what they’re talking about.

KFC has helpfully posted both a countdown clock and nutritional content on its website, which is a little like being given the chance to see exactly when and how you’ll die. With any luck, the primary ingredient in the Colonel’s sauce is Lipitor.

Ah, yes … replacing white bread with extra meat will give you heart disease, but Lipitor will save you. As far as the grain lobby and the pharmaceutical companies are concerned, that last reporter would fall into the category of journalists that Josef Stalin referred to as “useful idiots.” (He used the term to describe western journalists who actually believed what he told them.)

As the useful idiot noted, KFC has added the Double Down to its online nutrition menu, so I looked it up. Here are the calories and macronutrient values for the fried-chicken version, which is the one I tried:

Calories: 540
Fat: 32
Saturated Fat: 10
Protein: 53
Carbohydrate: 11

Hmmm … seems to me we’re looking at a high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate meal without too many calories. Compared to a lot of other fast-food offerings out there, it’s actually a pretty good choice. Here’s the nutrition info for a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, for example:

Calories: 510
Fat: 26
Saturated Fat: 12
Protein: 29
Carbohydrate: 40

The Double Down provides a bit more fat, a lot more protein, and barely one-quarter of the carbohydrates. So this is the sandwich that proves KFC wants us all dead? You’ve got to be kidding me. I think it just proves KFC wants us feeling satisfied. In fact, according to one of their executives, that was the whole point:

Javier Benito, executive vice president of marketing and food innovation at KFC stated that in consumer studies young men said they were still hungry after eating chicken sandwiches served on conventional buns. “They told us they were looking for something meatier,” he says.

Yup … a thin piece of low-fat meat on a bun can definitely leave a guy feeling hungry. This sandwich won’t. I slept late and skipped breakfast, then had a Double Down for lunch. I wasn’t hungry for hours. I had a small goat steak for dinner, and that’s it.

Is it a tasty sandwich? You bet. Is it health food? Of course not. But the biggest downside is that KFC fries their chicken in vegetable oils — which is exactly what the anti-fat hysterics demanded years ago. The polyunsaturated oils aren’t good, but at least a Double Down isn’t going to add insult to injury by jacking up my blood sugar. I know because I checked.

When I woke up this morning, my fasting blood sugar was 89 mg/dl. An hour after the Double Down, I measured the effect of those 11 grams of carbohydrate: 94 mg/dl. I checked again at the two-hour mark: 92 mg/dl.

Back in my young and foolish days, a typical breakfast for me was a cup of Grape-Nuts with a cup of skim milk — in other words, exactly the kind of “hearty-healthy” choice the experts recommend. Here’s what that meal provided:

Calories: 507
Fat: 2
Saturated Fat: 0
Protein: 21
Carbohydrate: 107

Low protein, very low fat, screamingly high in carbohydrates … a prescription for a blood-sugar joyride to Diabetes Land. I couldn’t find any testimonials about what Grape-Nuts do to a person’s blood sugar, but a couple of years ago, Dr. William Davis posted a reader’s experience with Cheerios — another low-fat, “heart healthy” cereal:

My BG started to rise very fast within 15 minutes after eating the cereal, peaked at about 250 mg/dL at 45 minutes, then slowly dropped. By about 60-75 minutes, I experienced strong hunger and carb cravings as the BG began to slowly drop, and by about 2.5 hours after eating, my BG had suddenly dropped quite low (in the low 70s) and I had developed a nasty hypoglycemic feeling (shaky, irritable, craving sugary foods, headache, etc.)

So let’s review: a sandwich consisting of bacon, cheese and fried chicken produces a blood-sugar reading of 94 mg/dl.  A bowl of Cheerios produces blood sugar of 250 mg/dl, at least for some people … but in a nation of type 2 diabetics, Cheerios are promoted as health food, while the sandwich denounced as the equivalent of a WMD.

If only the useful idiots in the media could comprehend that most of the major health problems we see these days are the result of runaway blood sugar. Now that would be “historical.” And perhaps we’d finally see some headlines like this:

Cheerios prove the American Heart Association Wants Us All Dead


77 thoughts on “I Doubled Down And Lived To Tell

  1. CindyD

    I’m looking forward to trying one this weekend while I’m on the road. I’m sick of In and Out’s Double Double Protein Style and Carl’s Jr. low carb burgers. Talk about messy for both of them! I only eat fast food when I’m traveling and something different will be nice.

    I’ve been away from California long enough now that I actually kind of miss those protein-style Double Doubles. They were messy, though.

  2. Jesrad

    Oh dear, Heart Attack In No Bun !

    I can’t wait for it to start being served in other countries as well.

    If it sells here, I’m sure that will happen.

  3. Rob Howard

    Well, I’m not terribly concerned with the frankenfood aspects here; this is a once in awhile treat. I hope fast food restaurants go back to using real food, though.

    I wouldn’t eat it every day either. But once in a blue moon, no problem.

  4. Jo

    LOL – Great post. hope they make it over to the UK soon!

    KFC is great for junk food – for those moments when you just have to dance with the devil!!

    If it sells here, I’m sure you’ll be seeing them there soon enough.

  5. Anders

    Too bad there aren’t any KFC’s in Norway. Well, I’ll just have to stick to my no-carb diet. I’ve already lost 45kg on this diet (in 7 months), and I was hoping that this “heart attack in no bun” would help me down the last 7kgs 🙂

    That’s an impressive weight loss, even on the metric system.

  6. David LaCivita

    I thought they were offering a version with their “grilled” chicken too? We could get even lower carb counts and avoid the Frankenfats.

    Yes, there’s a grilled version too.

  7. Sam

    I went to my local KFC yesterday to try the grilled version. The girl at the counter told me they didn’t have any grilled chicken because it wasn’t as popular as the fried so they didn’t see the point in making any.

    That’s what happens when you live in a small tourist town with a captive audience. Guess I’ll have to drive 90 miles round trip to the next nearest KFC.

    I can’t believe they didn’t make you one anyway. What, no grilled breasts around at all?

  8. logar

    Update: After ordering the double-down at a KFC near my house, I drove myself to the ER parking lot… just in case. I opened it up, ate it, and the only injury I brought upon myself was a burnt tongue because the thing was too damn hot.

    Taste-wise, I wasn’t too unhappy with it. Fast food generally is unappetizing to me nowadays since I’ve been away from it for over a year now, more or less, but this is pretty unique. Salty, gooey, and peppery- an overabundance of each. A homemade version of this would rock the house though.

    Geez, I didn’t think to eat mine near a hospital. I dodged a bullet there.

  9. Sarah

    I was sipping my homemade milkshake and scrolling through the comments on some of your old youtube videos. Since y’know, watching idiots talk is amusing during lunchbreaks I suppose. Then I had a thought when I read “Personal responsibility.” I thought, “Wow, for all these food evangelists who talk about how it’s ‘personal responsibility’, they sure do wanna make a bunch of laws to make people eat low-fat diets. ‘I believe in personal responsibility, so I’m going to make laws that prevent you from eating cheeseburgers!'”

    I choked on my shake laughing. I got looks.

    I’ve had some very … uh … interesting debates on that channel. The really p#$$ed off people all seem to end up there for some reason.

  10. MikeC

    Just had one, original. The place was packed inside, and the drive-through line was backed up quite a ways. I have to say, it was a pretty tasty sandwich. Now I’m wondering what I should have for a main course. 🙂

    Sounds like the Double Down is a success. You might consider something on a bun for the main course; the experts seem to think it’s good for you.

  11. Karl

    Great Post!

    I loved your movie and have been telling my friends and colleagues about it ever since.

    As far as the double down goes, this will be the treat that will allow me to walk through the doors of KFC after an 8 year break. Every time I eat there I get sick…not because of the food but because it tastes so damn good that I over eat. I plan to crush the DD next week as I have been craving KFC for a while.

    I found one Double Down was plenty of food. Your mileage may vary, but I’d be surprised if you wanted another one afterwards.

  12. Carl @ HCW

    You think it compares favourably to a Quarter Pounder, put it up against the foot-long Turkey Breast at Subway, something people actually consider to be “healthy fast food”

    Calories: 570
    Fat: 7
    Saturated Fat: 1.5
    Protein: 36
    Carbohydrate: 95

    It’s funny too, people say “be sure to leave out the mayo and cheese” at Subway to be “healthy”. Well I looked at the ingredients, and the mayo and cheese are about the only things they served that can be considered real food! The mayo uses crappy oil of course, but take a look at their “healthy” alternative FAT FREE Honey Mustard

    High fructose corn syrup, water, Dijon mustard, prepared mustard, distilled vinegar, honey, modified food starch, cider vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, salt, phosphoric acid, artificial color (Titanium Dioxide), xanthan gum, dehydrated onion, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate (as preservatives), egg yolks, dehydrated garlic, artificial caramel


    You should do a post on Subway, there’s plenty of ammo for it on their site. And that guy who went from being morbidly obese to less obese as their spokesman for healthy eating… That would be fun!

    I used to eat those low-fat Subway sandwiches. Didn’t work out for me like it did for Jared. I did analyze his diet once, and it was close to a semi-starvation diet.

  13. Sam

    Okay, I broke down and tried the fried version. At 11 carbs, it’s a pretty respectable fast food offering. I would have preferred more bacon… you can never have too much bacon.

    Anyway, it’s nice to have one more decent option when you’re on the run.

  14. Melissa

    I just wished places like this would go back to using animal fat for frying!
    Then I’d feel so much better about the whole thing!

    Real meat fried in real animal fat would a huge improvement. Unfortunately, they’d be blasted by all the usual health groups for frying in “artery-clogging saturated fat!” and most of the media would parrot the charge.

  15. Shayne

    Oh my! Our old friend MeMe Roth has already flipped her lid over KFC’s new delight (from her Facebook page): “Double down while doubling the size of your ass… Thanks KFC..!”. Maybe, to paraphrase Mencken, it’s the idea that someone, somewhere is actually enjoying the food they eat that is causing MeMe “I only eat 1400 calories per day” Roth to experience fits of apoplexy.

    She said in an interview that she’s not religious, but I think she’s basically a Puritan without the God part.

  16. Dana

    Only 11 grams with the fried? Wow. That’s awesome. Not something someone could eat in Atkins induction, but most LCers could eat it occasionally with no problem.

    Warning: If you’re MSG-sensitive, KFC uses MSG. Probably also in this sandwich.

    My favorite fast-food offering is Wendy’s Baconator. They have triple-deckers now. Bacon on every “deck.” Mmmmmmm. Messy without the bun, but you could wrap a low-carb tortilla around it, or use Jamie VanEaton’s oopsie rolls as a bun.

  17. Mark. Gooley

    In the Eighties I, diabetic since 1970, was assured that a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet was the way to go. Diabetes Forecast, the magazine put out by the American Diabetes Association, said so. I too ate Grape-Nuts with skim milk for breakfast often. I wondered why my blood sugar was at times uncontrollable. I was doing the right things, wasn’t I?

    That’s what they would have you believe.

  18. Dan

    I ate my first Double Down the other day (quickly followed by my second), and I must say it’s the best thing that has happened to me since I discovered Pabst Blue Ribbon.

    PBR … memories of high school.

  19. musajen

    I gave the grilled version a go this weekend and I wasn’t impressed. It was WAY too salty had an overly aggressive flavor. I’ll try the fried version for comparison but strongly advise skipping the grilled.

    I like salt, so it may not be too much for my tastebuds. I don’t understand why fast-food restaurants make some items so salty, however. I can always add a little salt. You can’t exactly get rid of it.

  20. norcalgal

    reasons i still wouldnt eat a double down (or anything from kfc)

    a) they treat their animals and workers in an extremely cruel, inhumane and humiliating manner

    b) they destroy the environment

    c) almost every single item on their menu contains MSG or sugar in some form. for those that dont konw what msg is apart from “its bad for you”. its a neuro-exciter. it causes your lil brain nerves to fire off at rapid rates and destroy them as a result.

    d) trans fats. i dont give a rats about the saturated fats. we are designed to digest these, we arent designed to digest the fats that have to be pressed and chemically altered from seeds to remain in a liquid state at room temperature.

    Good reasons to cook as much of your own food as possible.

  21. Sonagi

    PBR… memories of sneaking a can out of the fridge while my dad slept on the couch. My eight-year-old taste buds eventually outgrew the pleasure of cheap beer.

    You sneaked a beer when you were eight? Bet it took awhile to sleep it off.

  22. Gwen

    The most annoying part about the complaints about this sandwich is that it’s entirely about how the sandwich looks, not really about what the sandwich is made of. The sandwich only has a middling amount of calories, fat, and sodium, but they scream like it’s a 100×100 in-and-out burger. Looking at the rest of the KFC menu, other simple items like two Original Recipe chicken breasts have far more calories, fat, and sodium when purchase a la carte, a four-piece “half chicken” meal (though what kind of “half chicken” is two thighs and two drumsticks I don’t know), with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw, and a biscuit tops the chart at 1204 calories and I have NO idea how much sodium…and a simple chicken pot pie has a higher level of everything than the Double Down.

    If the Double Down is a WMD, then the rest of the menu is a veritable culinary War-Mart, the fast food equivalent of the Bazaars of Durra.

    Pffft. Only if you drink the soda and eat the bread.

    Spot-on. The anti-fat hysterics see bacon, cheese and fried chicken and go into panic mode immediately.

  23. Mark. Gooley

    I finally got around to getting one. I wimped out and got the grilled version to minimize carbs. It was a bit messy to handle (mostly from the spicy-mayo sauce), just a tad over-salted, rather tasty, and pretty filling. I thought it just a bit overpriced at $5.

    I’m a type I diabetic. Before eating it, my blood sugar was 117. A couple hours after eating it, with no pre-meal insulin shot (although some trickle effect from my once-daily shot of the ultra-slow-acting insulin analog Lantus), my blood sugar was 166, just a bit high. I should have had some insulin before eating it.

    I got mine at one of those combination Pizza Hut/KFC/Taco Bell places. An equal weight of almost any item on the Pizza Hut or Taco Bell menus would have sent my blood sugar to over 300 without a serious dose of insulin — yet this is what the pundits are warning me about?

    That’s what I found annoying. It’s certainly not health food, but compared to lot of what’s out there, it hardly deserves the killer-food label.

  24. Jeremy


    You’re 100% correct in your comparison between the double-down and a bowl of cheerios with skim milk, but I wouldn’t go around recommending this sandwich as a healthy food to be consumed daily.

    The chicken and bacon are definitely from grain-fed animals on factory farms, the cheese is highly processed, the fryer-oil is most likely a processed vegetable oil, the sauce contains soybean oil and HFCS, and the sandwich is salted down and pumped with MSG.

    Acceptable in a pinch, and not nearly as bad as it is made out to be, but a home-made version with free-range meats and cheddar cheese would probably be a better call.

    Absolutely … meals made at home from fresh ingredients are always the best option. Despite losing weight eating fatty fast food to prove a point, I would never recommend anyone live on the stuff.

  25. JStheguy

    Somewhere, Jacobson is having a midlife crisis over not being able to use his heart attack in a bun line.


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