Healthier Fast-Food Fries?

      127 Comments on Healthier Fast-Food Fries?

Before getting into the subject of Burger King’s new “healthier” fries, I’m going to anticipate a common (and incorrect) objection about using the words healthy and healthier to describe foods.  The objection, which I’ve seen in comments on a few blogs, goes something like this:

Foods aren’t alive and therefore can’t be healthy!  Foods that are good for you are healthful, not healthy!

As Johnny Carson used to say:  Wrong, buffalo-breath.  If foods aren’t alive and therefore can’t be healthy, how the heck can they be full of health?  And how can a person be said to have a healthy attitude?  Attitudes aren’t living organisms either … but a positive attitude can be conducive to good health.  Foods can also be conducive to good health, which is a definition of healthful.  But guess what?  That’s also one of the definitions of healthy.  Here’s a quote from the TheFreeDictionary.com:

The distinction in meaning between healthy (“possessing good health”) and healthful (“conducive to good health”) was ascribed to the two terms only as late as the 1880s. This distinction, though tenaciously supported by some critics, is belied by citational evidence — healthy has been used to mean “healthful” since the 16th century. Use of healthy in this sense is to be found in the works of many distinguished writers, with this example from John Locke being typical: “Gardening . . . and working in wood, are fit and healthy recreations for a man of study or business.” Therefore, both healthy and healthful are correct in these contexts:  a healthy climate, a healthful climate; a healthful diet, a healthy diet.

Okay, just felt the need to get that out of the way so I don’t have to keep using clunky terms like more healthful and less healthful. Now let’s take a peek at an article by a journalist who was invited to try Burger King’s new healthier french fries:

We tasted them, and you may not miss the 40% fat and 30% calories stripped from the spuds.

So the next time you’re at a Burger King and asked ‘Do you want fries with that?’ you might feel a little less guilty about saying yes.

I’d say that depends on what’s in those fries.

Just over half of the the fast food chain’s 100 million monthly customers orders fries. And while most of them aren’t expecting to get a health boost from their meal, heightened awareness about diets and nutrition, and the role that fried foods play in obesity, are starting to weigh on customers’ choices. It’s not entirely realistic to expect a healthy, nutritious meal delivered at a fast food counter, but it does makes sense that their menu developers start listening to what people want.

Have you discussed this with The Guy From CSPI?  He thinks McDonald’s should be serving tofu and salads.  That’s because he thinks people are mindless idiots who just eat whatever you offer them.

That’s why quick service restaurants are all offering healthier fare. There is a grilled chicken option for nearly every fried item, and salads freshen up the menu boards of all fast food chains now. But it turns out visitors to these restaurants want only one thing — the food that made these chains so popular in the first place — burgers, fries and shakes.

Bingo.  This is the basic-economics stuff activists like The Guy From CSPI can’t grasp:  people don’t buy burgers and fries because fast-food chains sell them; fast-food chains sell them because that’s what people buy.  One of my favorite on-the-street interviews in Fat Head was when I asked a young lady, “If McDonald’s sold broccoli in a nice red container like this, would you order the McBroccoli?”  She replied, “Maybe if they fried it or put cheese on it.”

Which is why we see behavior like this:

Getting people to eat healthier food at fast food joints is a major challenge for the industry. Burger King’s market research, for example, showed that people who walk into a restaurant intending to order grilled chicken change their minds at the register and consistently order fried.

People want their fried food.  Got it.  So what is it exactly that makes Burger King’s new version of fried potatoes healthier?

Satisfries are made with the same oil and equipment as the traditional french fries, and, not surprisingly, Burger King won’t reveal the oil-repelling agent responsible. But we consulted some food science experts who say that lowering fat content in fried food is more an engineering trick than a nutritional one.

That’s what I want when I order food:  an engineering trick.

“There are several patents out there now. It’s actually kind of an old technology,” says Mary Ellen Camire, the president-elect of the Institute of Food Technologists of the fat-fighting batter technique.

Adding modified starches to the surface of foods like potato chips, or adding ingredients to wet batters like proteins, gellan gum, methylcellulose and hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose and soy and pea flours, are well known ways to make fried foods less absorbent.

Sounds yummy!  And healthier, of course.

Camire says many fast food industry efforts to lower fat content costs them customers because the loss of fat leads to loss of taste or texture or both.

Or it could be that people’s taste buds are warning them they’re about to eat a frankenfood.

I don’t think I’ll be trying the gellan gum, methylcellulose and hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose and soy and pea flours fried in canola oil anytime soon.  I suspect readers of this blog won’t either.  But if you miss fries and want to indulge in a healthier version now and then, try Chareva’s sweet-potato fries.  Here’s the recipe:

  • Heat bacon grease in a frying pan
  • Toss in some thinly-sliced, peeled sweet potatoes
  • Fry the sweet potatoes until they’re crispy
  • Dump them on some paper towels and let them cool a bit
  • Add salt to taste

No hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose or soy flour required.

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127 thoughts on “Healthier Fast-Food Fries?

    1. Walter Bushell

      Who has bacon fat left after frying bacon???? Goes into what ever else I am eating. Perhaps if I fried up a pound of bacon.

      Reply
  1. Marilyn

    Healthful. Healthy. Guilty as charged. Sorry to have offended you so.

    No offense taken, so no reason to feel guiltful.

    Reply
  2. Lori

    Even regular fries taste so bad to me now that I wondered why I ever liked them. And after ending up in an ambulance last year from carrageenan in almond milk, I’m finished trying novel foods.

    I’m tired of hearing the word “healthy” applied to things that don’t have anything to do with health: relationships, attitudes, and financial statements come to mind. Maybe I should just get with the program: when I pick up my mom’s computer from the shop, I can remark how healthy it looks now that the viruses are gone.

    That is a healthy plan of action.

    Reply
  3. Torgo

    I’ll admit to indulging in BK’s sweet potato fries when they have them, but there always seems to be something fishy about them. Almost like they have a type of “glaze” or something. They’re certainly not of the quality you find at most sit-down burger joints (Sysco provided I presume).

    I hadn’t heard about these new “healthier” fries until now, but it sure sounds an awful lot like the Olestra fad from the nineties. Which is good because I need more source material for annoying jokes 🙂

    I think the fishy taste is just the taste we get from canola oil.

    Reply
    1. Justin B

      They’re also coated in sugar, the same way that the regular fries are coated in salt. They list all the ingredients on their website.

      I felt lousy after the first time I tried them.

      Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      Who has bacon fat left after frying bacon???? Goes into what ever else I am eating. Perhaps if I fried up a pound of bacon.

      Reply
  4. Lori

    Even regular fries taste so bad to me now that I wondered why I ever liked them. And after ending up in an ambulance last year from carrageenan in almond milk, I’m finished trying novel foods.

    I’m tired of hearing the word “healthy” applied to things that don’t have anything to do with health: relationships, attitudes, and financial statements come to mind. Maybe I should just get with the program: when I pick up my mom’s computer from the shop, I can remark how healthy it looks now that the viruses are gone.

    That is a healthy plan of action.

    Reply
  5. Torgo

    I’ll admit to indulging in BK’s sweet potato fries when they have them, but there always seems to be something fishy about them. Almost like they have a type of “glaze” or something. They’re certainly not of the quality you find at most sit-down burger joints (Sysco provided I presume).

    I hadn’t heard about these new “healthier” fries until now, but it sure sounds an awful lot like the Olestra fad from the nineties. Which is good because I need more source material for annoying jokes 🙂

    I think the fishy taste is just the taste we get from canola oil.

    Reply
    1. Justin B

      They’re also coated in sugar, the same way that the regular fries are coated in salt. They list all the ingredients on their website.

      I felt lousy after the first time I tried them.

      Reply
  6. robert

    Hmmmm… that sounds yummy!

    According to wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methyl_cellulose ) methyl-cellulose is a major ingredient of wallpaper adhesive.

    That article also claims m.c. is non-toxic, non-allergenic and edible.

    Is that a good reason to eat it? No.

    That’s good news. If you don’t like the fries, you can use them for wallpaper paste.

    Reply
  7. pup

    Hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose sounds scary but isn’t. Dipping potatoes in it is sort of like dipping them in flour, but without the gluten. I’m actually thinking that this is in fact a healthier option, simply due to the type of fats being used in fast food restaurants these days. If they were using lard or coconut oil, of course, it would be a different situation, but less corn oil is surely a good thing. Not that I’m headed out to Burger King to celebrate or anything.

    Soaking up less of a rancid vegetable oil would be an improvement, yes.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      Pretty much a sure thing if you eat in those type of “restaurants” then you will stink, those places stink of rancid oil and you will excrete it, particularly from the arm pits. I have N=1 experimental results to support that as well as biological plausibility. Even if the industrial seed oils you eat are not rancid when you eat them they will turn rancid in your body.

      Reply
  8. Tom Welsh

    “But if you miss fries and want to indulge in a healthier version now and then, try Chareva’s sweet-potato fries. Here’s the recipe:”

    Damn it all, now you made me feel hungry! And I was cruising along so nicely, thanks to my LCHF diet…

    Sorry about that.

    Reply
  9. Beowulf

    Great. Now I’m drooling on my keyboard and I don’t have any bacon or sweet potatoes in the house. Looks like I’ll have to remedy that today. Yum!

    Concerning the fraken-fries, I find it interesting that making food “healthier” often means making it more complicated in the eyes of a mass producer.

    The more processed, the better it is for you … at least according to the anti-fat hysterics.

    Reply
  10. robert

    Hmmmm… that sounds yummy!

    According to wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methyl_cellulose ) methyl-cellulose is a major ingredient of wallpaper adhesive.

    That article also claims m.c. is non-toxic, non-allergenic and edible.

    Is that a good reason to eat it? No.

    That’s good news. If you don’t like the fries, you can use them for wallpaper paste.

    Reply
  11. desmond

    Usually, after I cook bacon, I fry up carrots, sliced into sticks, in the leftover hot grease. Add a dash of salt. Delicious, and you don’t have to dirty a new pan.

    Those sound good too.

    Reply
    1. desmond

      Just read that “Satisfries” (“Saddestfries” or perhaps “Sadistfrieds”?) will cost more than their regular fries. I think this one is pretty easy to predict: they will go the way of the McLean Burger… nowhere fast.

      If I were a betting man (other than my football pool, that is), I’d bet you’re right.

      Reply
  12. Bret

    I often like to muse over what fast food french fries would taste like if CSPI had never forced chains in all their media hysteria to switch off of beef tallow.

    I am too young to remember, but I bet they were delicious. And much healthier than the ones we have now. Thanks CSPI Guy…freaking jackass.

    McDonald’s fries were delicious when I was a kid. That was in the beef-tallow days.

    Reply
    1. James Gegner

      Bret,

      McDonald’s fries were awesome back when they used to be cooked in beef tallow (it was actually a blend of beef tallow and cottonseed oil that McDonald’s used to cook its fries) before they made the mistake of switching to whatever horrid processed vegetable oil they use now. I hardly ever eat McDonald’s fries anymore because they taste like crap thanks to the nutrition nannies at CSPI. What a bunch of freaking jackasses.

      I have to say that young people today have absolutely no idea what they’ve missed out on over the last 25 years or so.

      Reply
  13. Bob Geary

    The name “Satisfries” is AWFUL. Even if these tasted as good as classic McDonald’s beef-tallow fries (and you know they won’t), I could never bring myself to order something with that horrible a name. (I’m not the first to point out that it sounds like “saddest fries,” as in, “These have to be the Saddest Fries I’ve ever seen…”)

    Plus, battered French fries are an abomination anyway. Before they started battering them (“How long have you been battering your fries?”), their French fries were inferior to McDonald’s, but I liked their burgers better, so it was a wash. After they started battering them, their French fries were inferior to Styrofoam, and I stopped going there, long before I had other reasons not to eat their food.

    One thing that surprises and impresses me a little is that they don’t appear to have reduced the fat in the traditional depressing ways (replace it with starch and sugar) – they’ve actually reduced both carbs along with fat, which puzzles me. And looking at their nutrition page () doesn’t make it any clearer:

    “Traditional”: 10g fat, 34g carb, 2g protein, 3g fiber in an 89g serving
    “Satisfries”: 8g fat, 28g carb, 2g protein, 2g fiber in an 87g serving

    I get that they lowered the fat by shellacking the poor potatoes with some magic coating that keeps the oil from penetrating – but the only way to reduce the carbs would be to use less potato (which would also explain the reduction in fiber). But what are they replacing the potato with?

    My guess (PURE speculation, I haven’t tasted these and have no plans to) would be that the Magic Coating they’re painting onto the fries might be a good sealant in BOTH directions – i.e. keep the oil out, and the water in – so they can use a higher water/potato ratio in whatever extruder their fries come out of without them getting limp & soggy. (That probably helps taste-wise too – they’d seem “moister” inside, which might go some way towards replacing the missing fat, though I’ve always found “wet” a poor substitute for “rich.”)

    Weird. I’m actually a little scientifically/culinarily curious now about how they did this – but I still have zero interest in any experiment that involves me consuming any.

    “Satisfries’ does sound like “saddest fries” now that you mention it.

    People my age or older probably remember the jingle for Chiffon margarine:

    If you think it’s butter, but it’s not … it’s Chiffon.

    Which we heard as:

    If you think it’s butter, but it’s snot … it’s Chiffon.

    Reply
    1. Ham-Bone

      I actually went out looking for the “nutritional” content as well. I really expected the carb count to go up. It didn’t and that confused me. How can the same amount (grams) of fries have less total calories with fat calories and carb calories going down and protein staying pat. Maybe I’m missing something. Did they invent a 4th macro-nutrient?

      Perhaps the soy flour?

      Reply
    2. Molly56

      I have cut out starches from my diet, but this is bringing back memories of the “good stuff”. Maybe I’ll do the same with Chareva’s sweet potatoes: After peeling the potatoes and slicing them, soak them in ICE water for at least a half hour. Take them out and dry them very quickly and fry them in sufficiently hot oil to make them crispy, but then, when all are fried, let the oil heat up again and fry again briefly. These “twice fried” fries will then have the crispiness of the restaurant kind. Don’t know why this works or if it’s “healthy”, but it’s great. I hear that Asian cooks do this with tempura to get that crisp texture. Keep the kids away, though, as any droplets of that cold water can “pop” quite a bit.

      …reminds me of an old Cajun technique my dad talked about seeing–the guy knew the oil was hot enough for frying those shrimp or craw-dads when he tossed an unlighted match into the fry pot (outdoors, of course). If it ignited, then the oil was “ready”. Yikes!

      Crispier is better, whatever it does with the fat content.

      Reply
    3. Chuck

      “One thing that surprises and impresses me a little is that they don’t appear to have reduced the fat in the traditional depressing ways (replace it with starch and sugar) – they’ve actually reduced both carbs along with fat, which puzzles me. And looking at their nutrition page () doesn’t make it any clearer:

      “Traditional”: 10g fat, 34g carb, 2g protein, 3g fiber in an 89g serving
      “Satisfries”: 8g fat, 28g carb, 2g protein, 2g fiber in an 87g serving”

      I believe by applying some math, you can make it look better than it really is, when all you really did was reduce the serving size by 2g. 10 ÷ 89 = 0.11235, 8 ÷ 87 = 0.09195, subtract and you get 0.02040, move the decimal two places to the right and you get 02. 10 – 2 = 8g fat. Same with carbs, 34 ÷ 89 = 0.38202, 28 ÷ 87 = 0.32183, subtract and you get 0.06018, move the decimal Two places to the right and you get 06. 34 – 6 = 28g carb. I think this is the same magical math Tom showed in “Science For Smart People”.

      Reply
      1. Bob Geary

        I’m not sure your math checks out there, Chuck, if you’re implying that BK *only* reduced the serving size by 2g, and kept everything else the same.

        I.e., the 89g “traditional” serving of fries had 10g of fat. That means that each gram of “traditional” fries (which is what, two fries?) has 10/89 grams of fat – as you say, .112g. So an 87g serving would have (87 * .112), or 9.774g of fat – virtually the same. Even if they were “gaming” the nutrition numbers, there’s no way to get that reduction just by reducing the serving size – the composition had to change.

        My guess remains that they’re just using less potato and more water, and that this science-lab coating that they’re spraying onto the fries is some (hopefully) nutritionally inert “stuff” that they don’t have to count as fat, protein, carbohydrate, OR fiber – which means, basically, that it’s not food.

        Except for my fingernails (bad habit, trying to stop), I don’t care to eat things that aren’t food 🙂

        Reply
  14. pup

    Hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose sounds scary but isn’t. Dipping potatoes in it is sort of like dipping them in flour, but without the gluten. I’m actually thinking that this is in fact a healthier option, simply due to the type of fats being used in fast food restaurants these days. If they were using lard or coconut oil, of course, it would be a different situation, but less corn oil is surely a good thing. Not that I’m headed out to Burger King to celebrate or anything.

    Soaking up less of a rancid vegetable oil would be an improvement, yes.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      Pretty much a sure thing if you eat in those type of “restaurants” then you will stink, those places stink of rancid oil and you will excrete it, particularly from the arm pits. I have N=1 experimental results to support that as well as biological plausibility. Even if the industrial seed oils you eat are not rancid when you eat them they will turn rancid in your body.

      Reply
  15. Justin B

    As someone who does better with a few potatoes in my weekly diet than not, I tend to prefer them to be cut into strings and fried, over whole or mashed. Stories like this tarnish the reputation of the poor, misunderstood fry.

    Reply
  16. Ellen

    I remember that Chiffon commercial and the one with the talking tub of butter. How about the “It’s not nice to fool mother nature” one? How true is that? Fries were definately better tasting when I was a kid, I can still taste the ones from Mr. Quick, yum.

    “It’s not nice to fool mother nature” was truer than they intended.

    Reply
  17. Tom Welsh

    “But if you miss fries and want to indulge in a healthier version now and then, try Chareva’s sweet-potato fries. Here’s the recipe:”

    Damn it all, now you made me feel hungry! And I was cruising along so nicely, thanks to my LCHF diet…

    Sorry about that.

    Reply
  18. Beowulf

    Great. Now I’m drooling on my keyboard and I don’t have any bacon or sweet potatoes in the house. Looks like I’ll have to remedy that today. Yum!

    Concerning the fraken-fries, I find it interesting that making food “healthier” often means making it more complicated in the eyes of a mass producer.

    The more processed, the better it is for you … at least according to the anti-fat hysterics.

    Reply
  19. desmond

    Usually, after I cook bacon, I fry up carrots, sliced into sticks, in the leftover hot grease. Add a dash of salt. Delicious, and you don’t have to dirty a new pan.

    Those sound good too.

    Reply
    1. desmond

      Just read that “Satisfries” (“Saddestfries” or perhaps “Sadistfrieds”?) will cost more than their regular fries. I think this one is pretty easy to predict: they will go the way of the McLean Burger… nowhere fast.

      If I were a betting man (other than my football pool, that is), I’d bet you’re right.

      Reply
  20. Bret

    I often like to muse over what fast food french fries would taste like if CSPI had never forced chains in all their media hysteria to switch off of beef tallow.

    I am too young to remember, but I bet they were delicious. And much healthier than the ones we have now. Thanks CSPI Guy…freaking jackass.

    McDonald’s fries were delicious when I was a kid. That was in the beef-tallow days.

    Reply
    1. James Gegner

      Bret,

      McDonald’s fries were awesome back when they used to be cooked in beef tallow (it was actually a blend of beef tallow and cottonseed oil that McDonald’s used to cook its fries) before they made the mistake of switching to whatever horrid processed vegetable oil they use now. I hardly ever eat McDonald’s fries anymore because they taste like crap thanks to the nutrition nannies at CSPI. What a bunch of freaking jackasses.

      I have to say that young people today have absolutely no idea what they’ve missed out on over the last 25 years or so.

      Reply
  21. Bob Geary

    The name “Satisfries” is AWFUL. Even if these tasted as good as classic McDonald’s beef-tallow fries (and you know they won’t), I could never bring myself to order something with that horrible a name. (I’m not the first to point out that it sounds like “saddest fries,” as in, “These have to be the Saddest Fries I’ve ever seen…”)

    Plus, battered French fries are an abomination anyway. Before they started battering them (“How long have you been battering your fries?”), their French fries were inferior to McDonald’s, but I liked their burgers better, so it was a wash. After they started battering them, their French fries were inferior to Styrofoam, and I stopped going there, long before I had other reasons not to eat their food.

    One thing that surprises and impresses me a little is that they don’t appear to have reduced the fat in the traditional depressing ways (replace it with starch and sugar) – they’ve actually reduced both carbs along with fat, which puzzles me. And looking at their nutrition page () doesn’t make it any clearer:

    “Traditional”: 10g fat, 34g carb, 2g protein, 3g fiber in an 89g serving
    “Satisfries”: 8g fat, 28g carb, 2g protein, 2g fiber in an 87g serving

    I get that they lowered the fat by shellacking the poor potatoes with some magic coating that keeps the oil from penetrating – but the only way to reduce the carbs would be to use less potato (which would also explain the reduction in fiber). But what are they replacing the potato with?

    My guess (PURE speculation, I haven’t tasted these and have no plans to) would be that the Magic Coating they’re painting onto the fries might be a good sealant in BOTH directions – i.e. keep the oil out, and the water in – so they can use a higher water/potato ratio in whatever extruder their fries come out of without them getting limp & soggy. (That probably helps taste-wise too – they’d seem “moister” inside, which might go some way towards replacing the missing fat, though I’ve always found “wet” a poor substitute for “rich.”)

    Weird. I’m actually a little scientifically/culinarily curious now about how they did this – but I still have zero interest in any experiment that involves me consuming any.

    “Satisfries’ does sound like “saddest fries” now that you mention it.

    People my age or older probably remember the jingle for Chiffon margarine:

    If you think it’s butter, but it’s not … it’s Chiffon.

    Which we heard as:

    If you think it’s butter, but it’s snot … it’s Chiffon.

    Reply
    1. Ham-Bone

      I actually went out looking for the “nutritional” content as well. I really expected the carb count to go up. It didn’t and that confused me. How can the same amount (grams) of fries have less total calories with fat calories and carb calories going down and protein staying pat. Maybe I’m missing something. Did they invent a 4th macro-nutrient?

      Perhaps the soy flour?

      Reply
    2. Molly56

      I have cut out starches from my diet, but this is bringing back memories of the “good stuff”. Maybe I’ll do the same with Chareva’s sweet potatoes: After peeling the potatoes and slicing them, soak them in ICE water for at least a half hour. Take them out and dry them very quickly and fry them in sufficiently hot oil to make them crispy, but then, when all are fried, let the oil heat up again and fry again briefly. These “twice fried” fries will then have the crispiness of the restaurant kind. Don’t know why this works or if it’s “healthy”, but it’s great. I hear that Asian cooks do this with tempura to get that crisp texture. Keep the kids away, though, as any droplets of that cold water can “pop” quite a bit.

      …reminds me of an old Cajun technique my dad talked about seeing–the guy knew the oil was hot enough for frying those shrimp or craw-dads when he tossed an unlighted match into the fry pot (outdoors, of course). If it ignited, then the oil was “ready”. Yikes!

      Crispier is better, whatever it does with the fat content.

      Reply
    3. Chuck

      “One thing that surprises and impresses me a little is that they don’t appear to have reduced the fat in the traditional depressing ways (replace it with starch and sugar) – they’ve actually reduced both carbs along with fat, which puzzles me. And looking at their nutrition page () doesn’t make it any clearer:

      “Traditional”: 10g fat, 34g carb, 2g protein, 3g fiber in an 89g serving
      “Satisfries”: 8g fat, 28g carb, 2g protein, 2g fiber in an 87g serving”

      I believe by applying some math, you can make it look better than it really is, when all you really did was reduce the serving size by 2g. 10 ÷ 89 = 0.11235, 8 ÷ 87 = 0.09195, subtract and you get 0.02040, move the decimal two places to the right and you get 02. 10 – 2 = 8g fat. Same with carbs, 34 ÷ 89 = 0.38202, 28 ÷ 87 = 0.32183, subtract and you get 0.06018, move the decimal Two places to the right and you get 06. 34 – 6 = 28g carb. I think this is the same magical math Tom showed in “Science For Smart People”.

      Reply
      1. Bob Geary

        I’m not sure your math checks out there, Chuck, if you’re implying that BK *only* reduced the serving size by 2g, and kept everything else the same.

        I.e., the 89g “traditional” serving of fries had 10g of fat. That means that each gram of “traditional” fries (which is what, two fries?) has 10/89 grams of fat – as you say, .112g. So an 87g serving would have (87 * .112), or 9.774g of fat – virtually the same. Even if they were “gaming” the nutrition numbers, there’s no way to get that reduction just by reducing the serving size – the composition had to change.

        My guess remains that they’re just using less potato and more water, and that this science-lab coating that they’re spraying onto the fries is some (hopefully) nutritionally inert “stuff” that they don’t have to count as fat, protein, carbohydrate, OR fiber – which means, basically, that it’s not food.

        Except for my fingernails (bad habit, trying to stop), I don’t care to eat things that aren’t food 🙂

        Reply
  22. David

    Perhaps this was just a brilliant marketing ploy by BK? Look at all this free publicity! They will also temporarily have more buyers with people wanting to try these “new” fries. Then they can quietly phase them out once they have made a tidy profit.

    This is all assuming they are actually any different than the other fries in anything other than their cut. Statistics (individual average weight / surface area versus calories / etc.) are magical.

    Remember that these were the people who marketed sundaes with bacon? Remember the media circus that got them?

    Just saying.

    Not a bad theory.

    Reply
    1. Jason Bucata

      McDonald’s in Japan does something similar, although they’re more open about it being a limited-time promotion. They have a lot of specialty burgers that are only there for a few months, weeks, maybe even days(!) and then go away. (Unlike many fast food items that are announced as “limited time only”, they actually TELL you when they’re going to disappear.)

      I guess the idea is that everybody gets extremely curious and tries it, and if they hate it it doesn’t matter, because they aren’t deeply invested, AND it got them a big flurry of business until they roll out the next limited-edition burger.

      So there’s precedent for your idea!

      They also seem to do several seasonal burgers, like only in the fall, etc.

      BTW if you want to see some very interesting video reviews of several of these exotic burgers, search YouTube for “kyde eric mcdonald’s” Actual quote: “I’ve said this before: Egg on a burger should happen more often!” 🙂

      Reply
      1. Jason Bucata

        While nosing through YouTube looking at some of their recent videos, I got an ad on the side for these Satisfries. (See also: irony)

        It says in the tiny picture “limited time only”. So I guess they’re not even trying to pretend that it’s a long-term new “healthy” item, but rather a short-term promotion.

        Reply
      2. Kay

        I am an expat living in New Zealand and egg on a burger is classic here. McDonald’s does a Kiwiburger from time to time that has egg and beet root on it. I haven’t tried it. But at another place I get a burger with coleslaw on it, and that is great! BTW, the nickname for McDonald’s here is Macca’s (pronounced mac’-uhz), instead of MickyDees. It took me a while to realise what Macca’s was when I got here.

        A beet root?

        Reply
  23. SB

    I suppose I should thank BK for making their food even less tempting. The more I learn, the less I want.
    Also, with all this talk of beef tallow fries, I need to get out, get some suet, and start rendering. I think I’m too young to have ever experienced tallow fries (though frying in coconut oil works well).

    Reply
  24. Allen W. McDonnell

    Personally when I want a deep fried potato substitute I love putting a pound of baby carrots in my deep fryer full of coconut oil. Now that is a yummy snack, and a lot healthier than the potato version Burger King invented above.

    I’m going to have to try those.

    Reply
  25. Ellen

    I remember that Chiffon commercial and the one with the talking tub of butter. How about the “It’s not nice to fool mother nature” one? How true is that? Fries were definately better tasting when I was a kid, I can still taste the ones from Mr. Quick, yum.

    “It’s not nice to fool mother nature” was truer than they intended.

    Reply
  26. LeonRover

    When I have bacon fat I cook my fries like you – white or sweet tubers

    Otherwise I use ghee made from KerryGold.

    Sláinte

    Reply
  27. Craig

    For an alternative take on your fries, try ghee instead of the bacon grease. We live in Tennessee too and have noticed a lot of the big Kroger stores around here starting to carry unrefrigerated “all natural butter ghee” in the international section. It gives sweet potatoes a flavor so buttery it almost seems sort of cheesy and nutty at the same time, if that makes sense at all. And if you are a fan of short, natural ingredient lists it is hard to beat a product that just says “butter fat” as its ingredient.

    I had no idea Kroger carries ghee. Sure, we’ll look for it.

    Reply
  28. Kevin

    Like many people who comment on this blog, I can’t stand hydrogenated oils. Like many people who try to cook with animal fats, I always get some feedback as to “watch my cholesterol” (as if I look at my cholesterol every day) or how fried foods are inherently un-healthy because they are full of fats.

    Like many people here, I usually fry foods in lard. When asked, I just say “it tastes better” and don’t give any of the science. Hydrogenated oils simply taste terrible – I wish I was old enough to remember when McDonald’s fried their foods in beef lard (I was born in 1984).

    One major point to make is that most people don’t like to confine themselves to being scientific experiments. That is, we operate on emotion, not science. The issue of global warming is one of my favorites; even if the consensus is correct, every proposed solution is a political one – and that includes my personal favorite solution, doing absolutely nothing. Science is knowledge, emotion is how it is perceived, politics is how it is executed.

    Reply
    1. Firebird7478

      Well, it is snowing in Wyoming this morning. The Artic ice caps grew by 67% in a year in which climatologists said snow would be a thing of the past. 😉

      The ice in Antarctica has been getting thicker too. Don’t tell the U.N.; they’ll have to cancel their plans to reshape the world.

      Reply
  29. Live Free Or Diet

    I won’t be trying them just because I never go there. BK gives me horrible digestive problems that other fast food places don’t.

    Hold it… Didn’t Burger King try these coated french fries before and they flopped because nobody liked them?

    Maybe, but I don’t remember that.

    Reply
  30. June

    Every time a fast-food place offers ‘healthy’ choices it fails miserably. Remember the McLean? One good thing about Burger King is that they don’t look at you weird when you order a burger with no bun. They actually have a button on the order screen for it.

    I like the burgers at Five Guys here. They wrap them in lettuce if you ask for no bun.

    Reply
    1. Bob Geary

      Aw, I’m jealous – our local Five Guys is happy to do bunless, but they don’t wrap it in lettuce. On the other hand, I get the full-sized bacon cheeseburger All The Way, and that would be really awkward in lettuce – maybe a full-sized slab of kale could hold it, but raw kale, no thanks…

      (But it’s a good burger anyway, even if I do have to eat it w/ a knife & fork.)

      Reply
    2. Justin B

      I think the Five Guys experience varies by location. A few months ago, if I would ask for no bun, they would just wrap up the greasy mess in the foil wrapper, as if it had a bun, and it would leak all over everything. More recently, they started putting it in a rectangular bowl with foil over the top, and that works much better.

      Reply
  31. David

    Perhaps this was just a brilliant marketing ploy by BK? Look at all this free publicity! They will also temporarily have more buyers with people wanting to try these “new” fries. Then they can quietly phase them out once they have made a tidy profit.

    This is all assuming they are actually any different than the other fries in anything other than their cut. Statistics (individual average weight / surface area versus calories / etc.) are magical.

    Remember that these were the people who marketed sundaes with bacon? Remember the media circus that got them?

    Just saying.

    Not a bad theory.

    Reply
    1. Jason Bucata

      McDonald’s in Japan does something similar, although they’re more open about it being a limited-time promotion. They have a lot of specialty burgers that are only there for a few months, weeks, maybe even days(!) and then go away. (Unlike many fast food items that are announced as “limited time only”, they actually TELL you when they’re going to disappear.)

      I guess the idea is that everybody gets extremely curious and tries it, and if they hate it it doesn’t matter, because they aren’t deeply invested, AND it got them a big flurry of business until they roll out the next limited-edition burger.

      So there’s precedent for your idea!

      They also seem to do several seasonal burgers, like only in the fall, etc.

      BTW if you want to see some very interesting video reviews of several of these exotic burgers, search YouTube for “kyde eric mcdonald’s” Actual quote: “I’ve said this before: Egg on a burger should happen more often!” 🙂

      Reply
      1. Jason Bucata

        While nosing through YouTube looking at some of their recent videos, I got an ad on the side for these Satisfries. (See also: irony)

        It says in the tiny picture “limited time only”. So I guess they’re not even trying to pretend that it’s a long-term new “healthy” item, but rather a short-term promotion.

        Reply
      2. Kay

        I am an expat living in New Zealand and egg on a burger is classic here. McDonald’s does a Kiwiburger from time to time that has egg and beet root on it. I haven’t tried it. But at another place I get a burger with coleslaw on it, and that is great! BTW, the nickname for McDonald’s here is Macca’s (pronounced mac’-uhz), instead of MickyDees. It took me a while to realise what Macca’s was when I got here.

        A beet root?

        Reply
        1. Kay

          Beetroot. That’s how they say it here for sliced beets. My iPad separated it and I just let it stay in the other comment.

          It strikes me as an unusual choice for a burger either way.

          Reply
  32. SB

    I suppose I should thank BK for making their food even less tempting. The more I learn, the less I want.
    Also, with all this talk of beef tallow fries, I need to get out, get some suet, and start rendering. I think I’m too young to have ever experienced tallow fries (though frying in coconut oil works well).

    Reply
  33. Allen W. McDonnell

    Personally when I want a deep fried potato substitute I love putting a pound of baby carrots in my deep fryer full of coconut oil. Now that is a yummy snack, and a lot healthier than the potato version Burger King invented above.

    I’m going to have to try those.

    Reply
  34. Daci

    I sure wish the CSPI guy would give it a rest.It’s just creepy how they have been handed such a big megaphone to push their agenda over the years.

    It just never ends.

    Reply
    1. Bob Geary

      What I always say about the CSPI: What they’re doing isn’t Science, and it’s absolutely NOT in the Public Interest – but to be fair, they may well be a Center, so they’re batting .250.

      Though in retrospect, they did do me a solid all those years ago when they forced McDonald’s to make their fries less delicious, thus making McDonald’s a less appealing option to me. So thanks, CSPI!

      They made fried food less appealing all over the country.

      Reply
  35. LeonRover

    When I have bacon fat I cook my fries like you – white or sweet tubers

    Otherwise I use ghee made from KerryGold.

    Sláinte

    Reply
  36. Craig

    For an alternative take on your fries, try ghee instead of the bacon grease. We live in Tennessee too and have noticed a lot of the big Kroger stores around here starting to carry unrefrigerated “all natural butter ghee” in the international section. It gives sweet potatoes a flavor so buttery it almost seems sort of cheesy and nutty at the same time, if that makes sense at all. And if you are a fan of short, natural ingredient lists it is hard to beat a product that just says “butter fat” as its ingredient.

    I had no idea Kroger carries ghee. Sure, we’ll look for it.

    Reply
  37. Kevin

    Like many people who comment on this blog, I can’t stand hydrogenated oils. Like many people who try to cook with animal fats, I always get some feedback as to “watch my cholesterol” (as if I look at my cholesterol every day) or how fried foods are inherently un-healthy because they are full of fats.

    Like many people here, I usually fry foods in lard. When asked, I just say “it tastes better” and don’t give any of the science. Hydrogenated oils simply taste terrible – I wish I was old enough to remember when McDonald’s fried their foods in beef lard (I was born in 1984).

    One major point to make is that most people don’t like to confine themselves to being scientific experiments. That is, we operate on emotion, not science. The issue of global warming is one of my favorites; even if the consensus is correct, every proposed solution is a political one – and that includes my personal favorite solution, doing absolutely nothing. Science is knowledge, emotion is how it is perceived, politics is how it is executed.

    Reply
    1. Firebird7478

      Well, it is snowing in Wyoming this morning. The Artic ice caps grew by 67% in a year in which climatologists said snow would be a thing of the past. 😉

      The ice in Antarctica has been getting thicker too. Don’t tell the U.N.; they’ll have to cancel their plans to reshape the world.

      Reply
  38. Live Free Or Diet

    I won’t be trying them just because I never go there. BK gives me horrible digestive problems that other fast food places don’t.

    Hold it… Didn’t Burger King try these coated french fries before and they flopped because nobody liked them?

    Maybe, but I don’t remember that.

    Reply

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