You’re on a low-carb diet and doing great. You’re out with friends and they all decide to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken for a quick meal. What can you do?

Obviously you can be a stick in the mud and refuse to eat anything; or, more to our point here, you can minimize the damage and maybe enjoy yourself a little. Always keep in mind it is what you do most of the time that really matters.

We should already know we don’t want a bun or potatoes (fries are the worst kind of potatoes). What about the breading on the chicken, the various sides, the drinks? KFC seems singularly about meals and not about buying each item separately. Let’s see what we can do.

One of the best skills you can learn from me is how to look up information. Into Google (or any search engine) I enter:

KFC Nutrition

From what comes up as the top result for me I am then able to find with a couple clicks:

KFC Nutrition Guide

You should right click that link directly above and then scan down the “Carbohydrate” column. Think to yourself single digits is much better than double digits. As I scan down here are my thoughts:

Some of those chicken pieces aren’t too bad. I’m going to completely rule out the pot pies. The salads with crispy chicken are high, that is because of the breading on the chicken mixed into the salad. For sides, green beans are a good option. To drink there are diet colas and tea at zero carbs.

So if we can find a meal that has chicken, one side, and a drink then we can get away with staying on our diet. The pain in the ass with KFC is that they have “meals” and those meals have two sides instead of one side and a drink.

I’m going to get a 2 piece drumstick and thigh meal, original recipe, green beans are a given and let’s throw in mashed potatoes with gravy. I will get unsweetened iced tea to drink. Let’s break it down:

03 – drumstick
07 – thigh
02 – green beans
18 – mashed potatoes and gravy
22 – biscuit
00 – iced tea

That’s 52 net carbs. Don’t eat the biscuit and you are down to 30 carbs. Let’s make a deal: give away the biscuit or throw it away and enjoy the mashed potatoes and gravy. If you are like me and eat bacon and eggs for breakfast you can get away with 30 carbs for a single meal and if your other meal is ultra low carb like breakfast then you will still likely lose weight for the day. Deal?


According to our chart the above Double Down sandwich is 17 net carbs. Almost all of those carbs are from the breading on the chicken filets. Try to remember that carbs cause heart disease and fat does not. This sandwich is not all that bad for you as fast food goes. This is so much better for you than a Quarter Pounder with cheese from McDonald’s. That Quarter Pounder with cheese weighs in at 38 net carbs so you can instead have two of these Double Downs and still be 4 carbs ahead.

Learn to look up the nutrition facts and figure out the net carbs so you can at least know the consequences of your actions. Keep a folder in your browser with links to various restaurants and for carbs in basic foods.

Keep one other thing in mind: Once you are at your target weight you get to eat more carbs every day. Next time I write about low-carb dieting I’ll be making more broad generalizations.

2 thoughts on “KFC

  1. Looking up nutritional information is sage advice. It definitely takes planning though, but it is doable. I can’t believe the Double Down Sandwich is only 17 carbs. It does make me wonder how reliable the nutritional breakdowns really are? Thanks!

  2. You have an interesting point, TB. That is why learning some basics takes you a long way. Really trying to do the low carb thing seems overwhelming until you start putting a basket of foods together that you like that are low carb — once you start knowing things enough to eat happily and responsibly then research is only necessary for variety (I’ll grow this into my next blog entry about this stuff). Without breading or sauce, all meat and seafood are zero carb whether baked, fried, or raw (ew). Liquor and pork rinds are both zero carb so, um, have a party!

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