Introducing the KFC 'bunless' sandwich - only 1,228 calories

Anyone on a diet will know that junk food is strictly off limits. But mere mention of a "bunless" sandwich might just have Atkins followers and the carb-conscious rushing for a bite. The "Double Down" is the latest weapon in the Kentucky Fried Chicken armory and is designed to appeal to those avoiding carb-laden lunches.

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But upon closer inspection, slimmers can expect to be disappointed because this particular menu item is a decidedly modern take on that old lunchtime favourite, the chicken sandwich. Due to go on sale in the US on Monday, the Double Down is far from a dieters dream, containing two rashers of bacon and two slices of melted cheese sandwiched between two hunks of KFC's famous fried chicken and oozing with mayonnaise.

Spokesman for the fast food chain, Rick Maynard, told the Daily Mail: "It's such a meaty chicken, there's no room for a bun." Finger lickin' indeed.

KFC have confidently declared that the latest addition to their menu contains a reasonable (for junk food, anyway) 540 calories. Horrified nutritionists would beg to differ. They say that it is actually closer to 1,228 calories - and that's half an adult man's recommended daily intake.

Of course, the calories tell only half the story, because customers can expect to consume 1,380 milligrams of salt, 32 grams of fat, of which 10 are saturated, each time they opt for the Double Down. And the sandwich will also be offered as part of a meal, with fizzy drink and potato wedges to add to the mix.

Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity, described the meal as a "salt bomb".

As yet the junk food giant has no plans to launch the Double Down in the UK, but with Britain's well-documented obesity epidemic spreading fast, no doubt the Double Down will be winging its way across the pond in the near future.

But if the government is so concerned at the state of the nation's health, should there be some sort of regulation to prevent the junk food giants from leading us into temptation?