KFC Gambling with Customers' Health by Bringing Back the Double Down

The Physicians Committee
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NEWS RELEASE May 19, 2014
KFC Gambling with Customers' Health by Bringing Back the Double Down
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Physicians Present KFC with SICK Award for Betting Marketing Dollars against Nutrition

WASHINGTON— The Physicians Committee–a nutrition advocacy group of more than 10,000 doctors–is hammering KFC with the Social Irresponsibility towards Consumers and Kids (SICK) Award for betting against the health of its customers by reintroducing the Double Down sandwich.

The Original Recipe Double Down contains 540 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 1,380 milligrams of sodium.

The sandwich features bacon, cheese, and sauce between two breaded chicken filets. During the initial 2010 launch, Physicians Committee dietitians wrote to David C. Novak, chairman of Yum! Brands, Inc., the company that owns KFC, requesting that the item receive a warning label regarding the high fat content.

This month, the Physicians Committee released a report detailing how the extreme amounts of fat, sodium, and cholesterol in the Double Down can contribute to poor health. Not only can the high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat result in heart disease, but the extreme sodium content can lead to—or exacerbate—hypertension.

The Double Down also contains bacon, which is linked to colorectal cancer. It is possible to order the sandwich with grilled chicken instead of breaded; however, when scientists with the Physicians Committee examined KFC’s grilled chicken, they discovered that the products contain Heterocyclic Amines, which are mutagen compounds that can cause a variety of cancers.

“The Double Down is a nutritional gamble,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee. “Half of all adults will die of cardiovascular disease and more than 30 percent of Americans are obese. Those are some poor odds.”

The Double Down is available for a limited time. However, in 2010, KFC extended the Double Down’s availability due to high sales. Health-conscious consumers should submit their concerns by tweeting their complaints to @KFC on Twitter. When the stakes are this high, KFC could hit the jackpot by going all-in and replacing the Double Down with a healthful low-fat, high-fiber item.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.