WASHINGTON - Fast food giant Burger King introduced a lower-fat, fewer-calorie French fry to US patrons Tuesday, allowing customers to order a side of "Satisfries" with their meal.
The new fry, which is being sold alongside the old classic, has one-third the fat and 20 per cent fewer calories.
And a small-size order contains 270 calories compared to 340 calories in the original.
According to the company, the secret behind the Satisfry is a reduction in the potato's oil absorption while still keeping the product "crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside."
"We know our guests are hungry for options that are better for them, but don't want to compromise on taste," said Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America.
Some 56 million orders are placed for fries each month at Burger King, where one in two customers purchases them, according to the company.
The Satisfry has 40 per cent less fat than McDonald's fries, Burger King said, with a 70-gram serving containing 6.3 grams of fat compared to 11.2 grams in McDonald's fries.
It also has 30 per cent fewer calories with 150.5 calories in a 70-gram serving compared to 226.8 calories at McDonald's.
"When it comes to what we eat, we know that small changes can have a big impact," Macedo said.
Not everyone is convinced of the fry's beneficial value, however.
"You don't want people to fool themselves and actually increase the serving size because they think it's healthier," dietician Mitzi Dulan told the newspaper USA Today.
"French fries are an easy way to get a lot of calories and a lot of fat," she told the paper.
The fast-food industry is considered one of the major factors behind the obesity epidemic in the United States, where one in three adults and nearly one in five children is obese.
Burger King is the third-largest fast food enterprise in the world behind McDonald's and KFC.