Monday, April 19, 2010

The Double-Down: not quite the end of civilization

I'm not eating that thing, but at only 540 calories it's not as much of a travesty as many fast food sandwiches. So points out acclaimed numbers man Nate Silver at Why he's pontificating about food and not political or sports stats - all of which he usually nails - is anybody's guess. Though he develops a chart to show just how bad the Double-Down is in comparison to many popular chicken sandwiches (one DD = 1.00, so if a sandwich is worse nutritionally than the Double-Down, it will have a DD value of over 1.00, and if better then the DD value will be under 1.00). It's worse than many chicken sandwiches, but there are worse ones - check out that Panera Chipotle thing:

Also note that many hamburgers are worse than the Double-Down!

But even though there are much less unhealthy items on any fast food menu than this thing, it's actually no worse than a Big Mac (also 540 calories), and calorie-wise is quite tame in comparison to some of the stuff at the other places:
  • Back to McDonald's, who is not exactly a great choice for healthy eating: their Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (would that be a Half Pounder?) is 740 calories.
  • Just a Baconator Single at Wendy's is 610 calories.
  • "We pride ourselves on clogging your arteries" Burger King, and their Whopper (670 calories), Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich (800 calories) or Triple Whopper (1,160 calories!!!)
And yes, that's before you even consider info about fat, carbohydrates and sodium! But Silver has another metric: Double-Downs per Calorie (DDPC), which shows that you're actually getting more crap per calorie than any other sandwich in his metric:

Also courtesy of

Silver explains this second chart this way:, things don't look very good at all for the Double Down, since for all that crap you're taking in, you're only getting about one-quarter of the calories that you need. On this basis, not only is the Double Down worse for you than any of the chicken products (Chick-Fil-A's Chargrilled Chicken Club, at 0.91 DDPCs, is the next-worst), but also all of the burgers as well -- even the Triple Baconator (0.98 DDPCs) and the infamous Thickburger (0.92 DDPCs). In fact, the only thing that beats than the Original Recipe Double Down is the supposedly healthier grilled Double Down (1.19 DDPCs), which is almost 20 percent worse for you than the signature version on a per-calorie basis.
I still won't be eating one, but you can easily find worse. Unless you stop to consider how much crap you're taking in per bite, in which case it starts to look like the end of civilization after all!.