Statistics wonk Nate Silver (an unlikely breakout star during the 2008 election season) has put his massive brain to work on an even more vexing problem than determining how the electoral college will flop: calculating the unhealthiness of the new KFC chicken-on-chicken atrocity that is the Double Down.

He runs the numbers (cholesterol, sodium, fat, saturated fat, and trans fat) and finds that as a health-destroying wrecking ball, the Double Down is actually outperformed by a large number of other fast food options, including Panera’s Chipotle Chicken, and most of the swagger-packing burgers out there including Wendy’s Triple Baconator and Hardee’s Monster Thickburger.

But then he runs the numbers again on a per-calorie basis, and suddenly: the Double Down reigns supreme, outperformed only by the (wait for it) grilled Double Down. It’s worth checking his results (if not his math), just to see so many fast food options stacked up against each other in a rigorous fashion.

Best of all, he even puts the tools into your hands, should you want to try his method on the fast food death wish of your own choosing:

“To calculate Double Downs for your own favorite sandwich, apply the following formula: divide the number of mg of cholesterol by 469, the number of mg of sodium by 3,754, the number of grams of total fat by 133, the number of grams of saturated fat also by 133, and the number of grams of trans-fat by 66. Then sum the result.”

Of course, the existence of a quasi-scientific method to figure out the unhealthiness of a given fast food sandwich option opens to the door to creating things that are even “better” than the Double Down in terms of damage done. What would happen, for example, if we simply breaded a Double Down and then deep fried that? Could it possibly get even less healthy on a per-calorie basis? And what if that deep-fried Double Down was then frosted with buttercream? The mind boggles…

By the by, the Hungry Beast has a fun gallery this week of several dozen of the “deadliest” fast food picks. Goooooooo pasta in a bread bowl!

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