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Published October 21, 2013, 07:19 PM

REVIEW: Burger King's new crispy cuts 'satisfrying'

With a crispy outside and fluffy inside, the new Satisfries at Burger King are indeed satisfying.

By: Ryan Johnson, INFORUM

With a crispy outside and fluffy inside, the new Satisfries at Burger King are indeed satisfying.

The fast food chain advertises its newest side item as packing “big taste” into the crinkle cut fries that have 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than an order of fries at McDonald’s.

All of that is true – the taste is good, and the texture was exactly what I want in my fries. I actually preferred the Satisfries to Burger King’s regular fries, which are smaller and greasier.

But there’s no way anyone should think this means it’s a healthy option.

A small order of Satisfries has 270 calories, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium – all less than the 340 calories, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fat and 480 milligrams of sodium in Burger King’s regular fries.

They also cost slightly more, $1.89 for a small order compared to $1.59 for the same portion of regular fries.

“Kudos” to Burger King for trying something new, said Lindsay Vettleson, a licensed registered dietitian at IMA Healthcare in Fargo. Still, fast food should not be a regular habit in anyone’s diet, she said, and these fries should be considered a very occasional treat.

“Even if it’s lower calories and lower fat, it’s still not a healthy option if you’re doing it several times per week,” she said.

HEALTHIER OPTION

All fast food fries have a thin coating of batter to keep them crispy. The new coating on Satisfries is designed to absorb less fat during frying, giving them a somewhat better nutritional standing than counterparts while still offering the fried flavor.

Satisfries bring to mind the former marketing strategy behind the 3 Musketeers chocolate bar. Sure, no one was lying when they said it had 45 percent less fat than some other candy bars. But it still has 7 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat – about a quarter of the entire daily value for saturated fat.

To put it into some perspective, start with a medium-sized potato. If it’s baked and served plain, including the skin, the entire spud would have 118 calories, 0 grams of fat and 13 milligrams of sodium, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But when Burger King slices up that same potato, dips it into the new batter, fries it and adds salt, that same 127 grams of food now sold as the Satisfries more than doubles its calorie count compared to the plain potato, picks up 11 grams of fat and soars to 300 milligrams of sodium.

For only 10 additional calories than the Satisfries, diners could eat an entire 6-piece order of chicken nuggets or get a 4-piece order of mozzarella sticks. A Whopper Jr. sandwich, without the mayo, adds up to only 260 calories – 10 fewer than a small order of Satisfries.

Whenever I dine at Burger King again, I’ll definitely be tempted to order a side of Satisfries. Like just about every other fried food I’ve had, they will be delicious.

But just like any other fried food, I’ll think of the Satisfries as a tasty treat that I can only justify every now and then, much like I try to look at ice cream.

It’s admirable that Burger King is trying to make small changes in its menu. For those fry addicts out there, Satisfries do cut out some of the fat and calories they might otherwise consume.

Healthy eating all comes down to moderation and portion control, Vettleson said, which is why she advises patients to stop categorizing foods as good or bad and instead take a more balanced approach.

“It’s just how often you eat them and how much you eat of them,” she said. “If you’re eating them very, very frequently and having large quantities of them, yeah, that becomes an issue.”

Any fry enthusiast would enjoy Burger King’s new Satisfries. Just don’t enjoy them every day.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587

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