Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chow Down for the Cure?

Monday, April 12:
KFC introduces the breadless sandwich, “Double Down” two slabs of fried chicken and melted cheese, two pieces of bacon. Based on the Original Recipe, diners can gobble down 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,380 milligrams of sodium.

Tuesday, April 13: Alicia @stales posts a Tweet and starts a discussion on WEGOhealth about the oxymoronic KFC/Komen partnership for “Buckets for the Cure,” and it becomes apparent that we are not the only ones fired up about this.

This promotion is a poor choice of partnering for a cause, and I agree with everything in Alicia’s excellent post. Among other things, Alicia suggests KFC make donations based on healthier meal choices purchased, and distribution of educational material during the campaign.

Click on the Komen "Breast Cancer information" link on the Buckets site, and they meekly suggest, "Maintain a healthy weight." But on the Komen site, they have a lot more to say about "Body Weight and Weight Gain:"

In two large studies, women were at increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer if they had gained 20 or more pounds after age 18.

Losing weight after menopause may help lower risk of breast cancer. One large study found that women who lost four to 11 pounds after menopause had more than a 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women whose weight did not change.

As a health educator, this kind of mixed message for the sake of profit makes me want to scream. An extra 100 calories a day over what you need adds an extra 10 pounds a year.

Those who know better about nutrition may get angry or laugh at the absurdity of this KFC/Komen partnership, but they won't buy a bucket of fried chicken so Komen gets 50 cents.

Those that have the greatest need to learn about healthier eating can interpret this as: If Komen, "the global leader of the breast cancer movement" is involved, then fried chicken must be OK. And buying a bucket supports breast cancer research. Chow down, kids!

What could have been an invaluable opportunity for community outreach and education risks the anger of Komen supporters, and all those that fight an uphill battle against the "bigger is better" food culture.

If the Pink Buckets were filled with grilled chicken, or even Original Recipe - WITHOUT skin and breading - it would give folks a first hand experience and important lesson: that you don’t have to completely give up your favorite foods to improve your health.

Here are the facts on KFC. It would have been so easy to suggest and reward the healthier options:

Orig. Recipe Ch. Breast
without skin or breading
- Cal: 150 Fat g: 2.5 Chol: 85 Sodium: 430

Grilled Ch. Breast -
Cal: 190 Fat g: 6 Chol: 90 Sodium: 550

Orig. Recipe Ch. Breast -
Cal: 320 Fat g: 15 Chol: 110 Sodium: 710

Spicy Crispy Ch. Breast
- Cal: 420 Fat g: 25 Chol: 110 Sodium: 1250

Extra Crispy Ch. Breast
- Cal: 510 Fat g: 33 Chol: 110 Sodium: 1010

What do YOU think?