When it comes to eating, there are two Americas. On one hand, supermarkets are increasingly stocking foods that are organic and locally grown, as consumers become alert to an obesity crisis. On the other hand, the fast-food industry isn’t going anywhere - in terms of either losing business or making progress toward better nutrition. That was clear when Wendy’s unveiled the remake of its signature hamburger. The “Dave’s Hot ’n Juicy’’ - available with one, two, or three meat patties - features whole-fat mayonnaise, buttered buns, and meat that’s no more lean than the original. Wendy’s executives say it’s the product of long research and test-marketing. In other words, it’s what customers want.
There’s no disputing taste (or the fact that unhealthy food can taste good). And even at 580 calories and 42 grams of carbohydrates, the “Hot ’n Juicy Single’’ is less egregious than KFC’s “Double Down,’’ which had bacon, too, along with fried-chicken patties in place of bread. More surprising, perhaps, is that it’s also less egregious than some of the salads on the menu at Wendy’s. Compare nutritional data (as you can on the Wendy’s website) and you find that the Baja Salad, topped with chicken, chili, and cheese, actually has more calories, fat, and carbs than the “Hot ’n Juicy Single.’’ At least a greasy - sorry, “juicy’’ - burger represents truth in advertising.