Burger King Satisfries: Bizarre Healthy Food Halo

Burger King announced a new addition to its line of fast food this week — low-calorie French fries. Well, not low calorie. Lower calorie. Lower than their current French fries, which measure in at 340 calories and 15 grams of fat for a small serving, compared to 270 calories and 11 grams of fat for the new fries. And they are crinkle cut, just like the French fries of our youth.

According to Burger King, the new fries, named “Satisfries,” are an innovative way to get people to eat healthier. “It’s not realistic to ask people to replace french fries with carrots or celery sticks,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian hired by Burger King. “This is like meeting people halfway.” But not every dietitian agrees. Some view the idea of putting a healthy food halo on French fries to be worrisome.

“You don’t want people to fool themselves and actually increase the serving size because they think it’s healthier,” says Mitzi Dulan, author of the upcoming book The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin. “French fries are an easy way to get a lot of calories and a lot of fat.”

A healthy food halo is an aura of healthfulness a consumer bestows on a food of overall low nutritional value  which is triggered by the use of words like “organic,” “low fat,” “high fiber,” “lower calories,” or “no transfat” in the product advertising or packaging. Many food experts believe a healthy food halo can be an invitation to overeat.

Satisfries, which claim 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than Burger King’s current fries, are not replacing Burger King’s current fries. They sell their original fries to one out of every two customers — a total of 56 million orders per month. The new fries will be offered in addition to the current fries. They aim to satisfy (or should we say “satis-fry”) the needs of thousands of gullible customers clamoring for healthy food at Burger King.

Did we mention they’re crinkle cut? It makes the head spin.

Click here to read more in USA Today.

Angel with Halo, photograph © Louise Docker / Wikimedia

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