In a move designed to add legitimacy to one of the nation’s unhealthiest foods, Wendy’s announced they’re replacing their old fries with new, natural French fries seasoned with sea salt. The French fries are served with the skins on to give them the “au natural” look and taste. It’s a slight different take on fast-food fries, but are these new Wendy’s French fries really healthier?
Natural Wendys French fries: Is There Such a Thing as Natural French Fries?
Yes, French fries come from potatoes pulled from the ground, but it’s not natural to throw them into a vat of oil – a move which immediately adds 19 grams of fat. It’s also not natural to douse them in salt – whether it comes from the sea or not.
On the plus side, the Wendys natural French fries are cooked in oil that contains no trans-fats, which is more heart healthy than the oils they previously used, but oil is still oil and 19 grams of fat (with 3.5 grams of saturated fat) will still clog your arteries. Chances are, the oil Wendys uses in their deep fryer isn’t a heart-healthy oil because of cost considerations.
Wendys French Fries: The Nutritional Low-Down on the New Natural-Cut French Fries
When you compare the nutritional information for the old Wendys French fries with the new ones, there’s not a lot of difference. Both the old and the new Wendys French fries have around 400 calories per serving, 19 grams of fat, and 55 grams of carbohydrates. The only difference is the new, natural French fries have 370 milligrams of salt, which is 20 milligrams more than the old fries. Same fat with more salt. Doesn’t sound like much of an improvement, does it?
Is Sea Salt Better for You?
Sea salt is less processed so it retains more trace minerals than table salt, but this amount is pretty small. Sea salt has a more pronounced taste, which means you may need less of it to flavor your food. On the other hand, table salt has the added benefit over sea salt of containing iodine, which is important for thyroid function. All-in-all, sea salt doesn’t have a lot of advantages over table salt except for taste. Both contain sodium – and too much sodium isn’t healthy.
Wendys Natural French Fries: The Bottom Line?
Wendys French fries may look and taste better, but they’re no better for you than the old fries with the exception of being trans-fat free. They’re even slightly higher in sodium than the old Wendys fries. Like any other French fry, eat them as treat, but don’t make them your side-dish of choice.