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What’s more fattening than a bacon sundae? You’d be surprised

Burger King’s bacon sundae.

Noel Barnhurst/Associated Press

Here's a reliable recipe for creating fast food buzz: Take one high fat, high calorie food item and combine it with another. Roll the finished product out as your newest menu item. And voilà! Instant publicity.

In case you missed it, Burger King introduced a bacon sundae last week as part of its summer menu in the United States, garnering plenty of attention as a result. While some balked at the combination, others rolled their eyes at the move, pointing out that the bacon-on-everything trend is totally passé. ( The Atlantic Wire went so far as to say it's "insulting," "pandering" and "manipulative" of the burger chain to hop aboard the bacon bandwagon so late.)

Considering the growing list of fast food offerings designed to make eyeballs and pant-buttons pop, it's hard not to fret about how the fast food industry is contributing to growing rates of obesity. But let's face it, the bacon sundae is no KFC Double Down. Nor does it come close to Pizza Hut Middle East's cheeseburger pizza, with a crust made of cheeseburgers.

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Just how big of a calorie bomb is it? Ottawa-based obesity expert Yoni Freedhoff puts it in perspective in his latest blog post. Sure, the bacon sundae has 510 calories and 15 teaspoons of sugar, he writes. But don't be fooled by the hype. There are plenty of lower-profile desserts that are worse for you, like the 890-calorie "Oreo blender blaster" at Denny's, the 1,554-calorie "chocolate thunder from down under" at Outback Steakhouse, and the Keg's carrot cake à la mode, which totally takes the cake with a whopping 2,344 calories and 65 teaspoons of sugar. As Dr. Freedhoff points out, that's less than two teaspoons shy of 1.5 cups. Yes, you read correctly – cups.

Plus, for all the brouhaha, there's the matter of how the bacon sundae tastes, which, as some attest, is not so great.

"Friends, I'm sorry to report that the bacon sundae is basically just your standard Burger King sundae with a little bacon on top. If you've ever eaten a bacon cheeseburger alongside a milkshake, you've got the basic flavour profile down," Esquire's Elizabeth Gunnison writes.

She continued: "If you're a fast food chain, and you're going to put a bacon sundae on the menu, why not do so with a little gusto and ambition? How about bacon-flavoured ice cream? Barbecue sauce instead of chocolate sauce? … Anyway, Burger King's bacon sundae: meh."

Do you know how many calories are in the seemingly unremarkable desserts you eat?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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