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Hey Wendy’s: Natural Means Nothing

Hey Wendy’s: Natural Means NothingHave you seen the commercials for Wendy’s new “Natural Cut Fries With Sea Salt”? Is Wendy’s implying that “natural”, “sea salt” and a little bit of skin make their fries somewhat more healthy than other fried potato offering?

Those in the know know…that in the world of nutrition, the word “Natural” means nothing. “Natural” is not a legally enforceable term and carries no nutrition standards with it. You can pretty much produce the most fabricated, chemically-laced food product in the world and throw “natural” in its title without ever worrying about regulatory or FDA repercussions.

Calling your junk food “natural” is becoming a food manufacturing trend – as Food Politics author and NYU Nutrition Professor Marion Nestle recently blogged about on her Food Politics blog.

But back to Wendy’s – how do the new fries stack up against the old ones? From a nutritional standpoint, they’re the same as any french fried product. A small serving of Wendy’s natural cut fries has 3 grams of fiber; not bad until you consider it costs you 320 calories and 15 grams of fat for those measly 3 fiber grams. Comparatively, McDonald’s small fries have 230 calories and 11 grams of fat for the same 3 grams of fiber.

If you like fries – go for it. But don’t believe that “natural-cut” fries are any better for you. And if you have to have potatoes – stick to the real deal: a small baked potato has 130 calories, 0 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber, a savings of about 100 calories and 11-15 grams of fat when compared to a small fast food fries.

For more potato persuasion, check out this previous post on National Potato Day.

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