Friday, May 4, 2012

The Truth Behind the Shell - Taco Bell Nutrition Facts

What is in your taco bell taco? Are they really that bad for you? Should you be concerned about feeding them to your kids?

Ok, so I read the headlines and listen to the "oats" in the meat and "only 88% of it's meat is actual meat, what's the rest?" hype, so I had to do the research myself. what I found out isn't so bad, because a lot of other products we find in the grocery store use these same ingredients and practices...they just aren't widely shown to the public. 

The company is actually trying to be more transparent about what is in their food, by creating a clickable FAQ of sorts that is free for public consumption (excuse the pun) on their website. It actually goes into detail about certain ingredients, which is pretty respectable. Of course everything is worded with a heavy handed marketing approach and to make it seem like they're your friend. Maybe the same vague speech writers who help politicians with their campaign speeches.

Here's an example:

Q: What are the other 12% ingredients in your meat?

A: They do have weird names – perfect for tongue twisters! But these ingredients are completely safe and approved by the FDA. They're common ingredients also found in food items at your grocery store.

Each ingredient helps make our Seasoned Beef taste great. Many of them are items you might use at home such as salt, peppers, and spices. Ingredients like oats and sodium phosphates help make sure the texture is right.

Read their meat FAQ.

Here is a comparison chart of the meat found in Taco Bell food vs. what you can find in the grocery store. Everything looks pretty comparable except for the sodium level, but our American palette has become pretty acustom to salty foods. In fact, we're probably so used to if there was no salt added we would probably complain that it was too bland. A few things to note: You get 2 grams of fiber with the Taco Bell meat because it contains the oats! 

 You know how some fast food places have opted to put their calorie counts on their menus. I know they really sway my opinion when choosing what and how much to eat. Since I know that I should only consume about 2k calories a day, I can gauge in my head what my items should total to. If you frequent "The Bell" quite a lot than the online nutrition calculator is a handy tool to educate you about making decisions that are good for you. It's well designed, easy to use and free for anyone to use.

All in all, I don't think Taco Bell is as bad as some of their fast foodie counterparts. If you make sensible choices, it's a quick and cheap way to feed your family. For example, instead of ordering four items filled with cheese, sourcream and flour tortillas for your child you could try two of their fresco tacos and a cup of water. That would fill them up with a balanced meal of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and corn tortilla shells which provide some fiber. Don't forget that these businesses are just catering to what the consumers want. Without their customers, they wouldn't be in business.


  1. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comJanuary 21, 2015 at 3:20 AM

    Hi Erin,

    I thought you might find this interesting. Healthline has compiled a list of the Effects Fast Food on the Body in a visual graphic and I thought you and your readers would be interested in seeing the information.

    You can check out the information at We’ve had good feedback about the article and we think it will benefit your readers by giving them med-reviewed information in a visual way.

    If you think this information is a good fit for your audience would you share it on your site, , or social media?

    Let me know what you think and have a great week.

    All the best,
    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3100 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

  2. No "factory" foods are good for you or your children. What was a marvel of science 100 years ago is not necessary now and is in fact detrimental to society today.