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03.24.10

The 41 Deadliest Fast-Food Meals

Obama’s health-care law requires chains to post calorie counts next year. So how does KFC's new 'Double Down' sandwich, which replaces bread with pieces of fried chicken, fare against the rest of the fast food universe? Not too badly, actually.

How does KFC's new 'Double Down' sandwich, which replaces bread with pieces of fried chicken, fare against the rest of the fast food universe? Not too badly, actually. Plus, shocking calorie equations.

Lost in the acrimony of the health-care reform, there was one clause that all sides seem to agree on: Beginning next year, all restaurant chains with more than 20 locations will have to post calorie counts and other similar information.

Click Here to See the Unhealthiest Fast-Food Items in America

Yet the trend toward healthy eating (or at least knowing what’s in that burger) took a decisive 180-degree turn when KFC introduced its Double Down sandwich—two fried chicken filets stuffed with bacon, cheese and a mayonnaise-based sauce—to great internet buzz and fanfare. The Double Down sounds like an artery clogging nightmare, but it’s actually not that bad, comparatively speaking. Slightly worse than a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut, slightly better than a Bonus Jack double cheeseburger from Jack in the Box, the Double Down slides into the #23 slot on our list.

Fried chicken sandwich revolutions aside, consumer health advocates are thrilled about the calorie count legislation. The Daily Beast decided to provide a preview, ranking 40 fast-food standards and classics based on which are worst for your health. We equally weighed five criteria, which were almost universally available to each of the items we measured: calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar.

Only in America would Chicken McNuggets and large fries look like health food. But once consumers get a full dose of information, they’ll learn about the 1,330-calorie, 38-grams of saturated fat monster topping the list. Who’s the culprit? Click here.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.

Clark Merrefield compiled these rankings.