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New Wendy's 'Natural-Cut' Fries: Are They Any Healthier?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/30/2010 6:27 AM   :  124 comments   :  33,559 Views

In a recent 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Wendy's French fries came in at number four behind industry leader McDonald's, up-and-comer Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger. Perhaps that is why after 41-years, Wendy's has redesigned their fries.

In an attempt to enhance flavor and texture, the new "natural-cut" fries include the skin and sea salt seasoning. They have been designed to be a hotter and crispier fry. The new 100 percent Russet potatoes made their nationwide debut a few weeks ago but they have just arrived in restaurants in our area. They seem to be another focus on wholesome ingredients to appeal to the nutrition conscious just as their new salads were earlier this year. So how do they measure up?

The natural-cut fries from whole potatoes arrive at stores frozen so they are not like those you might find at Penn Station that are freshly cut onsite. They are cooked in a new oil combination to reduce exposure to allergens and ensure zero trans fats per serving. While sea salt is more natural and contains more minerals than standard iodized salt, it still provides sodium that can have negative effects on health when consumed in excess. Sea salt provides a different flavor and a less "salty" taste, which may or may not meet patrons taste expectations. Since the new fries end up being significantly higher in sodium per serving than the originals, Wendy's may have found they needed to use both types of salt to balance flavors.

We tried the new fries here at the SparkPeople home office. Overall, people that liked Wendy's fries before, preferred the old version. Others felt there was a more noticeable potato flavor. Some parents had concern their children might not want them because of the skin. The salt flavor was favorable although there was a slight aftertaste noticed by several people. "It tastes like old oil," commented one taster.

Nutrition Information

Medium serving of new fries

Calories – 420 (10 calories more than original fries)

Fat – 20 grams (1 gram higher than original fries)

Sodium – 500 mg (150 mg more than original fries)

Carbohydrates – 54 grams (2 grams higher than original fries)

Protein – 5 grams (1 gram more than original fries)



Medium serving of original fries

Calories – 410

Fat – 19 grams

Sodium – 350 mg

Carbohydrates – 56 grams

Fiber – 5 grams

Protein – 4 grams

The Bottom Line

The new fries were tested in five test markets around the country for the most of this year. They obviously did well enough to become the new nationwide fry of Wendy's. Use caution with the new fries just as you did with the originals since they are still a fried food that increases fat and calorie consumption. "Natural" refers to the type of cut as well as to the original source but since it is served in fried form, it does not make it the healthiest choice. Sea salt is a less processed form of salt but it is still salt all the same and something to be limited in most diets. Selecting a baked potato with reduced fat sour cream and chives provides 320 calories, 4 grams of fat and only 50 mg of sodium and is a much healthier source of potassium than the fried option. If the new fries are a must, stick with the value size (the smaller box pictured above) for just 220 calories, 11 grams of fat and 270 mg of sodium.

Have you tried the new fries? What did you think?


Which fast food fries do you prefer?



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Comments

  • STEVENWITHAVEE
    124
    I made a special trip to try them because I generally love natural cut fries. I was very dissapointed. They were cold and limp. I am sure they had not been cooked in the recent past. I went to the trouble to notify Wendy's, via their website, to let them know what was being served by this location and no one even bothered to respond. I dont under stand. These corps spend millions of $ a year in advertising to get us in the door and all they have to do to keep us is serve food worth eating but instead they serve food my dog would pass on. - 11/19/2012   9:58:21 AM
  • 123
    In 'N' Out! - 11/18/2012   9:00:35 PM
  • 122
    I prefer In n' Out Burger Fries or Red Robin Yummm! - 11/18/2012   3:53:38 PM
  • 121
    I like Culvers Fries but, since I have been on my journey I think I have only had them once in the last two years. - 12/19/2010   5:31:51 PM
  • 120
    I tried the new Wendy's fries yesterday, and I thought they tasted really good - but they were SALTY. Bad bad salty. - 12/14/2010   11:01:49 AM
  • 119
    WHILE TRAVELING IN TENNESSEE THIS YEAR I DISCOVERED AN EXCELLENT BURGER & FRY SHOP CALLED "BACK YARD BURGERS" ONE OF THE BEST BURGERS I'VE EATEN ! THE BURGERS LOOK HAND MADE AND TASTE LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD MAKE AT HOME. LOTS OF LEAF LETTUCE & TOMATOES. THE FRIES ARE THICK AND TASTY. I DIDN'T CHECK THE CALORIES AND NUTRITION. IF ANYBODY OUT THERE KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT AND HAS THE INFO, I'D LOVE TO HAVE IT :0) - 12/9/2010   4:01:08 PM
  • SUGARSMOM2
    118
    once in a while i love a french try. do not eat them every day . just once in while .
    we need a varity of foods . - 12/5/2010   5:52:06 PM
  • 117
    I remember years ago Richard Simmons sharing that there was no way he would ever put a fry in his mouth, be it home made or fast food. He felt that would be his downfall. Fine for Richard. Personally, I love fast food fries. Hmmm, then again I am still 50 pounds overweight! Sigh. I actually do like the new Wendy's fries as I like the old Wendy's fries. I always add pepper to them. - 12/5/2010   3:28:36 PM
  • BUSSMOM
    116
    We have a "mom & pop" place in our city and they make the best homemade french fries and homemade potato chips. We go rarely as we make it a treat for special occasions. - 12/4/2010   12:20:58 PM
  • 115
    Barney's Gourmet Burgers in Oakland, CA has the best fries in the East Bay. Fresh, thick cut and crispy... sticklike fast food fries just do not measure up! '-)

    If you're going to indulge might as well have the best. - 12/4/2010   11:48:38 AM
  • 114
    I prefer the old Wendy's better, they were the best. I also like the boardwalk fries at our local mall . I always went to Wendy's before because there fries were the best, noe even the burgers are over cooked and I really dislike the new fries. - 12/4/2010   11:25:22 AM
  • 113
    Roy Roger's and Red Robin have the best fries! - 12/4/2010   10:59:21 AM
  • 112
    I like my own homemade fries with the skin on dipped in balsamic vinegar with a tad of sea salt - 12/4/2010   8:22:03 AM
  • 111
    This is heartbreaking news! I LOVE Wendy's (original) fries. Now you're telling me they're going to be thinner and crispier like every other fast food joint. :-( boo. What's wrong with a thicker fry in the fast food industry? Guess I'll have to go to Red Robin next time I want a soft warm treat. - 12/4/2010   1:01:33 AM
  • 110
    Best fries . . .Chick-Fil-A waffle fries. - 12/3/2010   12:22:15 PM
  • SHRINKINGBETTY3
    109
    I just tried Wendy's new fries the other day. Wendy's fries have NEVER been good. And after all the fuss and reworking, they're actually unhealthier and still not good.
    They did have more of a crunch and a real potato flavor, but I, too, think they also had an oily aftertaste.
    Maybe that's just because my body really does like healthier food now! - 12/3/2010   10:24:38 AM
  • OUTSIDRQQN
    108
    Our family has spent the last six months trying to wein our kids off of fast food and Wendy's just supplied us with the FIX! I decided I would take them to Wendy's and they ate the chicken nuggets, but FINALLY didn't touch their fries, because they "didn't taste good". That night at dinner, my kids finally ate all the vegatables on their plate. So, maybe we are that much closer to getting our kids on the right track of eating scratch made meals like my parents were accustomed too! - 12/3/2010   12:19:18 AM
  • 107
    chick-fil-a Waffle fries!!! - 12/2/2010   10:03:10 PM
  • 106
    New York Fries - have the best fries ever! - 12/2/2010   4:10:57 PM
  • 105
    Wing Stop - BEST fries! - 12/2/2010   2:30:19 PM
  • 25LADY
    104
    Nathan's has the best fries - HANDS DOWN!!! - 12/2/2010   12:15:09 PM
  • 103
    fried food no longer taste good to me and last time I ate some I felt ill afterwards. So no more fried fries for me. - 12/2/2010   7:21:57 AM
  • 102
    chip wagon fries are the best ever! - 12/2/2010   1:24:21 AM
  • 101
    I really prefer the OLD Wendy's fat cut fries over any of the others. - 12/1/2010   10:06:43 PM
  • 100
    If I eat fries, I like Arby's curly fries. - 12/1/2010   9:53:38 PM
  • 99
    Jack in the Box curly fries are my faves from a chain. I also like IHOP. - 12/1/2010   9:45:06 PM
  • 98
    i did try the new wendy's fries and have to say, they were pretty tasty...crispy and i like the flavor - 12/1/2010   9:39:31 PM
  • 97
    I haven't allowed myself to have any fries in over 2 years. Don't tempt me! (LOL) - 12/1/2010   8:14:36 PM
  • 96
    I have not tried the new fries and probably won't. I can't even remember the last time I had french fries.

    I did have to LOL a little at your comment about parent's being worried their kids won't like the new Wendy's fries because of the skins. Don't we, as a society, want our children NOT to like fried foods? Wouldn't have the skins on and children thinking they were too "healthy" be a good thing? - 12/1/2010   6:48:51 PM
  • GIANT-STEPS
    95
    Best fries I ever had was at a restaurant I worked at called Chip's Chicken Fried Steak Factory. They would cut a whole 1lb potato into fries and throw them right in the grease. Not super crispy but nice potato flavor and being made to order they never tasted as greasy as they actually were. Sadly that place went out of business 25 years ago.

    Hard to pick a favorite fry since there are so many styles. I enjoy the matchstick fries at Steak and Shake. The seasoned curly fries at Jack in the Box are good too. The high ratio of surface area to volume makes Chick-fil-a waffle fries particularly tasty. Every fry is good in its own way.

    Why is it that everything good is either illegal, immoral, or fattening? - 12/1/2010   4:07:13 PM
  • 94
    I very rarely eat fast food; I haven't had it for at least a year.
    If I have to eat it, I order a salad, baked potato or chili. - 12/1/2010   3:19:53 PM
  • 93
    McD's are still my favorite but they have to be right out of the fryer and super hot! - 12/1/2010   2:38:20 PM
  • PENNY1957
    92
    Sweet Potato fries, but made with olive oil and in the oven. - 12/1/2010   2:32:23 PM
  • EATING-GOOD
    91
    Chik-fil-a with no salt.

    Wendy's will cook fries with no salt if you ask for them when ordering.

    - 12/1/2010   2:20:07 PM
  • 90
    Captain D's have the best french fries but Steak n Shake's are good also. - 12/1/2010   2:04:29 PM
  • 89
    I love a little mom and pop fast food place in Appleton. You can get them fresh and hot with no salt. Yum. - 12/1/2010   1:22:50 PM
  • 88
    I love New York Fries, fresh cut, can have balsamic vinegar with them nummy!! - 12/1/2010   1:13:40 PM
  • 87
    I use to like wendy's till they changed them now they are not a crisp fry and really seem to soak up the grease - 12/1/2010   1:05:36 PM
  • 86
    Although I don't eat there anymore, McDonald's will always have to best fries to me! - 12/1/2010   12:41:41 PM
  • 85
    I like Culvers French Fries. - 12/1/2010   12:11:54 PM
  • KSMALL4
    84
    I like Culver's French Fries. - 12/1/2010   12:06:22 PM
  • 2DIETORNOT2DIET
    83
    I do oven baked fries at home, I never ordered fries at any place I eat because they all taste like grease - 12/1/2010   10:44:33 AM
  • 82
    I like Friendly's fries better than anywhere else.

    However - fries are FRIED...so no matter how you slice the potatoes (with or without skin, sea salt or iodized salt), they still aren't a healthy choice. - 12/1/2010   10:36:22 AM
  • XXSATURNINE
    81
    I was just making fun of Wendy's new fries last night to my boyfriend, when a commercial for them came on TV. They're trying to appeal to the "organic/natural" market, but those of us who weren't born yesterday can see right through their marketing efforts. All in all, Wendy's should still be avoided just like the rest of the fast food places. - 12/1/2010   10:27:45 AM
  • FXYGMA
    80
    Dairy Queen - 12/1/2010   10:18:48 AM
  • 79
    Backyard Burgers - I loved their waffle fries but now they don't have them anymore. But their regular fries are good too - as are their spicy fries! - 12/1/2010   9:58:15 AM
  • 78
    I like Hardees - 12/1/2010   9:45:32 AM
  • GMAGEE
    77
    We are White Castle cravers - but only once every few months. - 12/1/2010   9:26:34 AM
  • 76
    Hmmmm. These "sound" like a healthier choice, but all the stats are higher. I will avoid. :) - 12/1/2010   8:55:12 AM
  • 75
    Before trying Five Guys fries I would have said McDonald's had the best. That being said, I don't eat fries very often (less than once every couple of months) having been introduced to Five Guys by a good friend (we shared a small order, plus left at least half of the order behind) I more than likely NOT order fries any where else. I like the natural, skin on look and taste. - 12/1/2010   8:50:17 AM

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