Hardee's supersizes latest burger

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- As many fast-food chains are catering to the health-conscious, Hardee's is introducing the biggest and thickest of its Thickburgers -- one with enough calories to make Ronald McDonald blush.

The St. Louis-based chain on Monday rolled out its Monster Thickburger -- two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. The sandwich alone sells for $5.49, $7.09 with fries and a soda.

Even a news release touted the Monster -- at 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat-- as "a monument to decadence." Add fries and a soda and a single meal would involve more calories and fat than most people should get in a day.

Jerry McVety, president of the restaurant consulting firm McVety & Associates in Farmington Hills, Mich., said Hardee's has found a niche that McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's have moved away from.

"Maybe this is a smart strategy because there are still folks out there who care about the taste and size of their sandwich, and less about their weight," he said.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based advocate for nutrition and health, called the Hardee's line of Thickburgers "food porn."

But Saint Louis University professor of nutrition and dietetics William Hart said the occasional Monster Thickburger isn't the problem.

"If you're eating it every day, then you've got some serious questions about your diet," Hart said. "Is there a need for a burger this thick? Well, why not? It comes down to people have to take responsibility for themselves. In moderation, there's no reason you can't enjoy it."

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