By now you’ve heard of KFC’s Double Down, which sandwiches bacon, cheese and sauce between two chicken filets. It comes in Original Recipe or Grilled. Original Recipe (which features fried chicken filets) clocks in at 540 calories (the same, as it happens, as McDonald’s Big Mac) and the grilled version has 460 calories.


As someone who values her health above all, someone who lost 120 pounds, you’d think I’d be in line with the countless Facebook posts proclaiming “OMG DISGUSTING!!!1!!” about the Double Down, which KFC started selling Monday.

I’m not.

Neither the Double Down, nor the Big Mac and not even the Hardee’s Monster Thickburger is why about one-third of American adults are obese, which the Centers for Disease Control reported in 2008. If you are totally appalled by the Double Down, you should show the same disdain toward the Olive Garden’s enormous portions of pasta and Panera Bread’s calorie-laden sandwiches (adding gourmet seasoning to mayonnaise doesn’t change its nutrition facts).

Few people will eat a steady diet of Double Downs. Everyone knows someone who eats a diet heavy in fast food; sometimes they’re the biggest person you know, but a lot of times, they aren’t. Until science cracks the genetic code, we probably won’t know exactly how that works — that one person can pork up just by smelling a cheeseburger, while another can shovel in all kinds of fast food and stay slim.

Fast food often takes the blame for a larger problem in the American lifestyle, but most of it is not any worse than what the typical American tosses in his grocery cart. I’m always checking out other shoppers’ loot at the grocery, and I worked as a cashier at a Walmart Supercenter for five years, in high school and college. And I can tell you this: The typical grocery haul is just as “OMG DISGUSTING!!!1!!” as the Double Down. It’s just not as in-your-face about it.

Most of it comes in a box. Boxes of Hamburger Helper, frozen pizza, sugary cereals. That’s partly because overprocessed, fattening foods are the cheapest. But those foods also are more convenient than chopping up in-season veggies, planning a week’s worth of meals and leftovers and clipping coupons. And while it’s become a fact of life for me, I will admit it: At first, living healthfully requires a lot of effort. It takes more than turning down the Double Down to be healthy.

One Double Down will not make or break your weight loss or your health. It’s the sum of your decisions that will count in the end.