October 03, 2013

Our reaction to the barrage of TV ads about Burger King's new SatisFries—which BK says have 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than McDonald's fries—was to drive on down to Burger King and try some: and they're pretty good. These are fried fries, not baked, and the process is mostly secret. They say the fries are coated in a special batter that helps them absorb less oil in the frying process.

Are SatisFries really better for you? We have to admit, the nutrition claim is a little tricky to parse. Burger King bases their calorie and fat savings for SatisFries on a 70-gram serving, which they say has 150.5 calories and 6.3g fat. They claim the same amount of McD's fries has 226.8 calories and 11.2g fat, which is the nutritional total for a small fry from McDonald's. But you can't buy a 70-gram serving of SatisFries. Burger King's smallest size, the Value (which is actually smaller than a "small"), weighs 87 grams.

Here, a chart that compares Burger King's regular fries to the new SatisFries.

The servings weigh the same, but you can see that each size of the SatisFries has less fat and fewer calories.

Now, let's compare McDonald's and Burger King. A direct comparison with McDonald's fries is tricky because the two restaurants serve different portion sizes: Burger King's tend to be bigger. A small serving at BK weighs 78% more than a small at McDonald's. So while the fries are lighter on fat and calories, total calories in a serving are not as low as the ad comparisons imply.

How can you tell what a 70-gram serving is if you don't carry a scale in your purse? Count your fries--we found 70 grams was close to 17 fries. Or split a medium with a friend.

Bottom line: They're still French fries, which means they're a source of fat, calories, and sodium—even if they are a "healthier" version of the golden delicious deep-fried goodness. If you want the most bang for your potato-ey buck, make your own. Our Garlic and Herb Oven Fries are super crispy, and a 1 1/2-cup serving is only about 200 calories.

Have you tried them? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.

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