Double Down aggravates nutritional worries

For a week now, fast-food chain KFC’s controversial hit, the Double Down, has been on menus in Canada. The sandwich, composed of bacon and Monterey Jack cheese between two pieces of breaded chicken, which has been a popular item down in the U.S. for months, has made its way across the border, bringing health concerns with it.

“It’s irresponsible for fast food restaurants to offer this kind of food,” admitted David Hammond, professor of psychology and health studies at the University of Waterloo. “The sandwich isn’t dangerous, it won’t kill you, but this is not what public health needs in this time of high obesity.”

Canadian consumers are expressing growing concerns regarding obesity, kidney disease, heart disease and high blood pressure.

KFC’s Double Down seemingly presents another barrier to the healthy diet Canadians should be following, with 1000 mg more sodium than fast food competitor McDonald’s Big Mac and accounting for 116 per cent of Health Canada’s recommended daily intake of sodium. Pointing the finger at KFC exclusively is problematic as it addresses only part of the scenario.

Hammond explained, “It’s people eating at fast food restaurants who are a part of the problem.”

He went on to comment, “KFC and other fast food restaurants are not aimed at a healthy target.”

By choosing to eat a KFC Double Down, consumers are contributing to the increasing obesity rates in Canada.

“We like to think here in Canada we are a lot different than the U.S., but with our [poor] diet choices, we’re really not,” Hammond said.

It’s not a matter of regulating the fast food industry to prohibit the sale of these products but ultimately the choice of consumers whether or not to indulge in such items.

“They won’t ban this food… we can hope these companies will choose not to market this food though,” said Hammond.

A greater push to have fast food chains display nutritional information for their products has been considered in aiding the public to make more well-informed decisions.

Forcing restaurants to display nutritional values on menus and advertise healthier eating choices may attribute to an improvement in the population’s health, Hammond said, “The bottom line is, what is offered affects what we eat.”