Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet Opinion Article

Check out my latest article published in the Temple News.

Shedding Pounds By the Burrito

Taco Bell’s commercial gives off the wrong impression, despite the fine print.

Fast food is hardly synonymous with diet. Instead, fast food is generally the food that any dieter, or health-conscious person, stays away from. Grace-Dickinson

But Christie Dougherty, the 27-year-old star of Taco Bell’s newest commercial, contributes her two-year, 54-pound weight loss largely to eating food items from Taco Bell’s Fresco Menu five to eight times per week. As Dougherty boasts about the “fantastic results” in before and after photos, a disclaimer – “Taco Bell  Drive-Thru Diet is not a weight loss program” – flashes across the screen. Considering the commercial revolves around Dougherty’s success with the Drive-Thru Diet, the fine print is worthless.

On Feb. 1, Philadelphia law went into effect requiring chain restaurants with at least 15 locations nationwide to list the calorie count for foods on their menus. I am afraid to see how fast food companies will distract consumers from their high-calorie intake. Fast food restaurants may abuse the concept of dieting by grouping together their lowest-calorie menu options, as Taco Bell has done, and simply slapping on a “diet” label.

Therefore, it’s important for consumers to realize “diet” is no longer a loaded word, especially when fast food companies are trying to sell unhealthy food in an increasingly health-conscious market. Dougherty didn’t lose weight because of the Drive-Thru Diet – she drastically cut the amount of calories she consumed. She ate as few as 1,250 calories per day and increased regular exercise time.

The Drive-Thru Diet is, like many other weight-loss mechanisms, an unhealthy way to slash calories. Like most fad

The kind of taco that should be placed into a diet- Whole grain wrap, beans, romaine lettuce, salsa

diets, the Drive-Thru Diet also causes dieters to miss out on essential nutrients and quality foods.

“For some people, the act of cognitively restricting their intake for a period of time can trigger a compensatory binge response when the restriction is lifted,” Alison Ventura, Ph.D., an adjunct public health instructor, said.

Not only is the Drive-Thru Diet fairly restrictive, but it also lacks key ingredients.  Besides some chopped tomatoes and a few measly slivers of iceberg lettuce, Taco Bell’s menu items do not include the real food you should be eating on a diet – vegetables.

Instead, menu choices are high in sodium, which the Dietary Guidelines for America recommends limiting to 2,300 milligrams per day. Excess intake is linked to increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

“Hypertension is a problem because it places unnecessary stress on your arteries and causes your heart to work harder than if you had lower blood pressure,” Ventura said. “High blood pressure can also cause your heart and other vital organs, such as brain and kidneys, to become damaged and fail.”

Ruth Carey, registered dietician in Portland, Ore., and a consultant for Taco Bell on the Drive-Thru Diet menu, told the New York Times that “not everyone is sodium sensitive and has high blood pressure.”

One may not have high blood pressure going into the Drive-Thru Diet, but after enough Fresco Burrito Supreme Chickens – each containing 1,410 milligrams of sodium – one might see his or her blood pressure skyrocket.

Considering Taco Bell is supposedly not a diet for weight loss but does include components that actually diminish health, the Drive-Thru Diet is pointless.

It’s obvious that Taco Bell and most other fast food restaurants are not the places to turn to healthily lose weight. While it is great that Taco Bell does offer some lighter options on its menu, it’s absurd to turn the menu into a diet plan. What’s next, the Crown Fried Chicken Diet?

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  • Reply
    Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet Opinion Article « Food-Fitness-FreshAir | Kebab Beysan
    February 15, 2010 at 8:16 am

    […] View original here: Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet Opinion Article « Food-Fitness-FreshAir […]

  • Reply
    February 15, 2010 at 11:46 am

    hey sweetie! Awesome post. I so agree with you. I think when trying to lose weight so many people just focus on one thing and not the whole picture. I have heard of people eating 12 100 calorie packs a day in order to maintain a 1200 cal/day diet. Huh?! I dont understand that. Sure you might lose some weight but you health is seriously going to suffer for it. Plus no way you can keep it off in the long run. Its all about a lifestyle change! While I think maybe the fresco menu is good on those rare occasions when you gotta hit up food on the go and there are no other options, I dont think its anything that you should incorporate into your daily diet. No good! Anyways whew, sorry I could go on and on about that! Ha! I hope you have a fabulous day!

  • Reply
    Simply Life
    February 15, 2010 at 11:48 am

    congrats on being published – great article!

  • Reply
    Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    February 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    This Taco Bell diet thing is so annoying. You could turn any fast food into a diet if you really tried hard enough. Sheesh, you could eat one hamburger from Wendy’s per day and still lose weight. If these restaurants really want to advertise their health benefits, perhaps they should start offering real health food. I could go on, but… Big. Eye. Roll.

    • Reply
      September 2, 2010 at 1:32 am

      Turning fast food as a diet is the most outrageous thing i have ever heard. Eating one hamburger a day from any fast food joint would bring you health down so low. You would not be getting any nutrients or vitamins your body needs. Plus you would be starving yourself, i don’t know anyone that could go a week with eating 1 hamburger a day. You would not gain any muscle, the weight you would be losing is probably your muscle because your body would be eating it away.

      • Reply
        September 2, 2010 at 2:28 am

        oh yea just thought i would mention that the definition of diet as a noun is “food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health” and as a verb “to regulate the food of, esp. in order to improve the physical condition. ” diet does not mean to starve your self -.- ..

  • Reply
    Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet Opinion Article « Food-Fitness-FreshAir | Drakz Free Online Service
    February 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm

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    Jenna @ Healthy. Happy. Well.
    February 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Those commercials annoy me so much that I just have to change the channel. I’m sure people are taking the ad to heart though and expecting to lose weight like their spokesperson did. It’s just not healthy, and very misleading!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Congrats little Miss Writer! Great informative article. I think like all things Taco Bell can be enjoyed….but I wouldn’t do the Subway thing Mr. Jared did with Subway and eat it for every meal ;)…now with that said – I am ordering in Pizza tonight…why because I have no appetite, no taste for anything and am just generally not giving two cares right now. Oh well.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Congrats!! You are such a great writer!!!

    I seen the ads for this and commercials, it is all just crazy!!! Trying to make people really believe they will lose weight this way or its being healthy, nope not healthy in any way!

    Love ya!! xo

  • Reply
    Teniah Howell
    February 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Fabulous article….This is such scary news though, SERIOUSLY….I am such a freak when it comes to fad diets and this sort of advertising – hate it SO much!!! It’s sad to think that people would actually belief such a hype……Anyway, fabulous article and it was really well written.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Great post!!

    I agree- let’s focus on healthier eating overall- I just had a yummy, super-healthy homemade chicken fajita at home- no need for Taco Bell.

    However, just to play devil’s advocate, I will say that I do have clients who eat fast food A LOT….and even though it isn’t the best- sometimes just making a bit better choices at fast food places are the small things that someone might be willing to improve now.

    Thanks for a great article!

  • Reply
    Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition
    February 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing! When I saw that add for Taco Bell it just made me laugh. I couldn’t believe they would try to get on the ‘healthy fast food eating’ bandwagon. pathetic.

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    February 16, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I think you bring up some fantastic points in this article. I really wish the Taco Bell commercial would have focused more on her diet, but then mentioned that as PART of her diet she was still able to eat fast food. That’s fine, and I think it’s actually a good message. Many people think they need to 100% restrict all of their favorite”sinful” foods when on a diet, but this isn’t true. So the women was allowed to eat Taco Bell, still, fantastic! But let the public know that she also ate fewer calories, fruits, veggies, whole grains (hopefully) and worked out everyday! We want the truth, and the truth would be a good message to Americans.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Congrats on the article! You bring up some really good points. I don’t think that advocating that someone eat mainly fast food is right. I do think that it’s good that there are some healthier fast food options that people can choose once in a while (and hopefully balance out with plenty of fruits and veggies the rest of the day).

  • Reply
    February 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

    That is such a fantastic article! anyone can lose weight if they reduce their calorie intake to about 1200 (like she did) and workouts…

    However I do think that the fresco menu DOES offer healthier alternatives IF you plan to eat fast food. I have found myself many of time, yelling out my car window “Can I get a Fresco Burrito” lol

  • Reply
    February 16, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Great post, straight forward and informative on calories consuming. Do you know you can also make low calorie fast food? However i learn few things from your article
    Thanks a lot

  • Reply
    HCG Diet Cuyahoga Falls
    February 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Ah, This is exactly what I was looking for! Clears up
    a few misnomers I’ve read

  • Reply
    February 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    This is a great article!! You’re such a talented writer.

    This Taco Bell diet pisses me off. Come on people – its Taco Bell, yes its better to get something off the Fresco Menu instead of the fries supreme (even though theyre delicious) but whats even better is saving your money and making something healthy at home.

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    February 16, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    In response to your comment on my blog: I don’t think it’s weird that you get sick of taking vitamins. I would say just take one multivitamin, and maybe a chewable Viactiv (easier to “Swallow”). I get sick of swallowing vitamins too.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    “Fast food is hardly synonymous with diet.” Amen!

    You are so impressive, girl! This is so well done and fun to read!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2010 at 8:13 am

    This is a wonderful article! and it is very useful and helpful for those who is searching for weight loss information.
    Thanks for this useful article.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm


  • Reply
    January 9, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Yes! Finally something about 101 hcg cookbook.

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