Taco Bell Promotes Weight-Loss Benefits of "Drive Thru Diet"

As I was typing away in my office last week my husband came running in at full speed to announce what he at first thought was a joke on the part of Taco Bell. A newly fit Ms. Christine Dougherty claims that she lost 54 pounds on Taco Bell's new Drive Thru Diet.

Dougherty is set to become an instant celebrity after claiming she lost 54 pounds in two years by eating menu items off Taco Bell's "Al Fresco" menu. Read a little closer, however, and you'll find that the diet was actually limited to 1,250 calories daily.

From an environmental and health standpoint this is an abomination. By decreasing your caloric intake so much you're bound to lose weight. If I ate only 1,000 calories a day of Slurpies and beef jerky for two years, I'm quite sure that I also would lose a significant amount of weight. But feasting on processed meat products alone does not a healthy body make.

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A 2010 Weight Loss Proposal

Limiting your caloric intake helps you to lose weight, true. But you should make dietary decisions to promote personal health, not simply to lose weight at the expense of your health and the planet.

Try making that soft taco, crunchy taco, or burrito at home. By taking a minute to make your food at home, you can control your ingredients, control your waste (and waist), and give the planet a break.

Besides, while Christine Dougherty may have lost 54 pounds on the Taco Bell plan, she's likely just one in a million. A month of ordering one of seven menu items from a fast food establishment is likely to breed boredom. Next thing you know you'd be ordering the 700 calorie Beef Grilled Stuffed Burrito, an order of the 1000 calorie Volcano Nachos, and a 550 calorie 40 oz Tropical Fruit Punch. That's 2,250 calories! But I guess if you were trying to stay healthy you might just order a Chicken Ranch Taco Salad, which weighs in at a measly 910 calories.

Scary Meat Products

Of the seven menu items on the Taco Bell Drive Thru Diet, only one is vegetarian, the Fresco Bean Burrito. The "diet" menu includes two chicken items: the Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco and the Fresco Burrito Supreme Chicken. There are also three beef items: the Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco, the Fresco Soft Taco, and the Fresco Crunchy Taco.

Factory farms usually produce the meat for fast food joints such as Taco Bell. It's scary to think of all the suffering that the confined animals used to produce fast food meats go through just so someone can eat the Drive Thru Diet for two years. And factory farming takes a huge toll on the planet. According to Farm Sanctuary, each factory facility can hold tens of thousands of animals in windowless warehouses. These facilities are located throughout the country and are responsible for more than 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Food Laced with Poisonous Pesticides

I would love to wake up one day and learn that the fast food industry was using sustainable ingredients like organic cheeses, sour cream, and all organic produce. But, besides a few standouts like Chipotle, the fast food industry is still fueling industrial farming. Large scale farming operations can produce ingredients laced with poisonous cocktails of pesticides and herbicides. These poisons, which can be problematic when eaten regularly, use fossil fuels and pollute our ground water.

Unnecessary Packaging

If you head to the drive thru on a daily basis you're sure to produce tons of unnecessary trash, including the paper from each individual taco, the sauce packaging, the beverage cup and straw, and the bag it all comes inside. It's just such a waste. Stopping in a fast food joint once in a while on a road trip is one thing, but producing this much waste on a regular basis can make your eco-impact pretty sizable.


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