The #ChickenSandwichTwitter war of 2019 embodied some prime late-stage capitalism in action.
Social media accounts for a bunch of fast-food brands are trying to get you to buy their lousy chicken sandwiches by memeing at each other, and it's working. Their "cool" marketing bullshit is absolutely going to make you want a chicken sandwich.
Now let's be honest, if you're like the majority of Americans, you're already a walking Diabetes bomb. So maybe it doesn't matter to you which fast-food chicken sandwich is the healthiest, just so long as you can drown it in mayonnaise (which admittedly sounds delicious).
But we care, because not all chicken sandwiches are made equal. The healthiest chicken sandwich is probably the best universal option, because it'll keep all of our fat capitalist punching bag asses alive long enough to buy more fast, good chicken sandwiches.
Obviously, most of us are too lazy to look up any nutritional information on our own, so we've broken everything down for you from worst to best:
Popeye's is dogs*it. Nutrition information for Popeye's newest chicken sandwich isn't readily accessible online (although The Takeout pins it at a whopping 690 calories), so their slightly healthier chicken po' boy will serve as a stand-in.
To clarify, we're not going to sit here and tell you that all carbs or all fats are bad, because that's patently untrue. A healthy diet consists of a balance of all three macronutrients––fats, carbs, and proteins (with a slant towards protein if you want to build muscle). With that being said, the entire reason chicken is considered to be so healthy is because it's basically all protein with no carbs and very little fat.
So for Popeye's to somehow fit 32 grams of fat into a f*cking chicken sandwich is lunacy. Are they pumping it with lard? Absolutely gross.
Wendy's has the lowest calorie chicken sandwich, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the healthiest. They don't list the number of carbs, for instance––which works out to 32.6 grams. But the most worrisome thing about Wendy's chicken sandwich is how little protein it has. 14 grams of protein in a chicken sandwich is ridiculously low, considering the protein is directly related to the amount of chicken (the healthiest part). In essence, Wendy's isn't giving you absolute poop like Popeye's, but they don't seem to be giving you very much chicken either.
Make no mistake; Chick-fil-A is not good for you. But compared to its competitors, Wendy's and Popeye's, Chick-fil-A technically offers the healthiest chicken sandwich (if by "healthiest" we mean the least likely to send an already at-risk heart into cardiac arrest). Unlike Popeye's, the fat amount isn't through-the-roof, and, unlike Wendy's, the protein count is roughly where it should be. 40 grams of carbs is still significantly more than it has any right to be, which suggests a whole lot of breading, but at least you're getting a good deal of protein, too.
So should you ride on down to Chick-fil-A and take solace in the fact that while you're still speeding up your own untimely death, your favorite chicken sandwich is healthier than the competition's?
No! Because, as it turns out, Chick-fil-A is (still) garbage. With its CEO, Dan Cathy, tied to anti-LGBTQ+ groups and a history of controversy over the company's dedication to the biblical definition of the family unit" (i.e. heteronormativity), Chick-fil-A's sandwiches' main ingredient is apparently oppression.
the #ChKing says LGBTQ+ rights! during #pride month (even on Sundays 👀) your chicken sandwich craving can do good… https://t.co/GAbV6n9zO1— Burger King (@Burger King)1622768521.0
However, Burger King recently threw shade at the chain and boasted their own Ch'King Deluxe Sandwich, pledging to donate 40 cents of each purchase to Human Rights Campain (up to $250,000). In doing so, they belatedly threw their own contender into the ring:
Looking at the nutritional information, Burger King's Ch'King might be the worst sandwich for your health, but the best for your conscience — because we truly can't have nice things.
Add that to the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for American adults, and we all lose the Great Chicken Sandwich Debate ‐— um, Bon appetit?
This article was originally published by the author in August 2019 and updated by the editor in June 2021.