Would You Try The Taco Bell Diet?

A direct answer to Subway’s Jared, Taco Bell’s new spokeswoman Christine says she lost 54 pounds in two years in part by substituting the restaurant’s lighter fare for her usual fast food splurges.

So can Taco Bell be your own, better-tasting Weight Watchers? The experts aren’t quite sure, ABC News reports:

“What I like is the availability of fast food items that are improved. Perfect is the enemy of good, and these offerings are pretty good,” said Dr. David Katz, director of Medical Studies in Public Health at Yale University. But, “I also suspect that most people hoping to ‘be’ Christine will be very disappointed, just as most Jared wannabes are. These are likely people who made a dramatic commitment to lifestyle change, and simply relied on a particular source of convenience food as part of their strategy. That doesn’t make that source of convenience food the solution!”

So which fast food company will step forward with the next weight loss wonder tale? I’m pulling for someone to say they lost their love handles by eating nothing but El Pollo Loco’s Ultimate Pollo Bowls, because I’d totally be down for that diet.

Subway Had Jared, Now Taco Bell’s Got Christine [ABC News]
(Thanks, Stephanie!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dondegroovily says:

    Better looking that Jared, that’s for sure

  2. temporaryscars says:

    Plop those pounds away.

    *plop plop plop plop*

  3. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I saw this ad and thought it was a joke. I was horrified when the ad ended without a punch line.

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      Same here. Seriously? You want us to start thinking of Taco Bell as diet food? You’re out of your damn skull (and out who knows how much $ for a crappy marketing strategy)

      Although I do love that half the screen of the commercial, and half the Web site pages, are filled with disclaimers basically saying, “Yeah, it didn’t really happen like that. We’re calling it a diet, even though it clearly isn’t.”

  4. sir_pantsalot says:

    I thought this commercial was kind of mocking the whole Subway Jared diet ordeal. It says on the commercial that it is not a real diet plan so they are just advertising that replacing the cheese and sour cream with pico is a lot better for you.

  5. phospholipid says:

    In before asinine “OF COURSE YOU’D LOSE WEIGHT EATING TACO BELL FROM [insert bowel dysfunction] LOLZ”.

    i’ll try anything once. the price of two tacos sure does beat buying a pre-made salad, which makes me sad :[

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Does Christine have AIDeS, like Jared, or does she have new peanut butter AYDS?


  7. proud-infidel says:

    Actually this isn’t as crazy as some of you might think. A friend of mine from HS used to be quite fat and over the span of a few years (1999-2002) lost almost half his body weight. Part of his routine was a daily visit to taco bell for some bean burritos. I can’t say for certain that this was what did it for him, but we all used to joke about his “Taco-Bell Diet”. At the very least it didn’t hurt!

    • davere says:

      Their bean burritos are fairly good for you, specially if you get rid of the cheese, which you won’t really miss. That’s my dinner once a week (2 of them, nothing else.)

  8. KyleOrton says:

    Does anyone else find it unnatural that she’s shown sitting in 2 feet of weeds wearing a bikini? It makes me think that weight loss from Taco Bell might not have happened evenly.

  9. chalkboard17 says:

    I don’t think anyone is taking this seriously… even the commercial seems to be poking fun at itself (giant letters on the bottom of the screen saying results are not typical.)

    • mocena says:

      Those are the new rules, any sort of advertisement that has a person with atypical results has to make it disgustingly clear that is what is going on. Honestly, I’ve had those fresco tacos and they aren’t half bad.

    • supercereal says:

      Every advertised diet in existence claims that the results they show “are not typical.” I don’t see this as any different from all the other weight loss plans out there. There are healthy eating choices at every restaurant out there; stick to those options and any ” diet” will work for you.

      • chalkboard17 says:

        What I was trying to say was that it’s normally in smaller print on the screen. This commercial flashed it in large letters (or at least the ones I’ve seen on TV did.)

        I know that all of the diet ads say this, but most try to hide it… Taco Bell didn’t.

  10. tchann says:

    I lost 80 pounds in a year and a half by knowing what I was putting in my body in the first place. I still ate Taco Bell (regular tacos, not fresco), and McDonalds, and fried food whenever I could. I just ate less.

    Dr Katz is dead-on, though. Weight loss is a lifestyle change – dieting on the fly is just not as effective.

    But seriously. Who would ever want a taco without cheese? Yuck. x.x

  11. XTC46 says:

    It should also be noted that it took her 2 years to do this, while eating 1250 calories a day. If I at 1200 calories a day, Id lose that 50 lbs in less than 6 months, much quicker if I also decided to go to the gym.

    • Alter_ego says:

      That’s awesome. I’m trying to loose weight, but I’m short, so to loose two pounds a week, which is the maximum healthy amount, I have to eat less than 1067 calories a day. It feels like nothing.

  12. diasdiem says:

    For more diet Mexican food:

  13. cmdr.sass says:

    beans are good for you. refried beans, umm not so much.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      You realize re-fried beans are not actually fried, unless you fry them yourself. Their name is a mis-translation/understanding of the Spanish name.

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        Wikipedia disagrees – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refried_beans – and that lard can’t be very healthful either.

        That said, it’s easy to get a can of fat-free and/or vegetarian “refried beans” at almost any grocery store.

        • Nogard13 says:

          Lard is actually better for you than butter, even if it’s a bit higher in calories. Lard’s fat is also mostly monounsaturated, which is healthier than saturated fat (like Butter) and has more polyunsaturatee fat than butter. And even the saturated fat in lard has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol. Not to mention that lard has a higher smoking point than other fats, allowing foods like chicken to absorb less grease when fried in it.

        • veronykah says:

          Most places don’t use lard in their refried beans anymore, you generally have to go to a REAL Mexican taco place to get beans with lard in them.
          That being said you’ll know if your beans have lard because they will taste like heaven sprinkled with crack.
          I laugh at all the places “Proudly Serving Food Without Lard”…lard makes it BETTER!

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        taco bell beans are [used to be at least] powder formed into little pellets. just add water, stir over the steam table for a few minutes.

    • Ubik2501 says:

      That’s why I want to try fried beans. Maybe they’re just as good, and we’re wasting time.

  14. HogwartsProfessor says:

    “These are likely people who made a dramatic commitment to lifestyle change…”

    Yes, Jared got off his butt and WALKED in addition to eating more healthful Subway offerings. Although if I could lose weight just by eating crap, I would do it in a heartbeat.

    /reforming junk food junkie

    • Demonpiggies says:

      A. Jared basically starved himself while walking close to 30 minutes each way

      B. you can eat just about ANYTHING and lose wait as long as either you limit the intake and/or exercise.

      If I exercise I can eat almost anything and still lose the weight. The assumption is that eating less or controlling your calories will provide success. What most do not realize is that even on a healthy diet, once your body acclimates to said diet it will not help your metabolism and you will plateau very easily. Exercise is the key. Diet in conjunction with exercise will control and reduce weight.

      Jared starved his body and forced it to convert energy from his stored fat in order to fuel his walking. This is not good and I hated working at Subway when the Jared fad hit because everyone was like “well if he can so can I” and then proceed to ask me for extra mayo…

  15. duncanblackthorne says:

    There’s already been numerous studies that suggest that it doesn’t matter WHAT you eat, so long as you limit your calories; is she doing that or just pigging out on Taco Bell whenever she feels like it? I think not. She’s probably also exercising regularly, all of which are commonly known to make you lose excess weight. I don’t think anyone with an ounce of common sense would actually believe that Taco Bell or any sort is actually “healthy” for you, this is just the fast-food industry scrambling desperately, like they always do, to try to convince the gullible that they haven’t been eating utter crap all this time.

    • trentblase says:

      The biggest problem with this approach is that most Taco Bell items have some form of glutamate (MSG, hydrolyzed yeast, etc.), which tends to make you feel hungrier. So while the bottom line is only directly affected by calories in – calories out, it is still indirectly affected by what you eat (which will likely have an impact on calories in).

  16. Dondegroovily says:

    Reminds me of Supersize Me and the guy who ate nothing but Bigmacs. He wasn’t fat. Of course, he just ate the Big Mac, not the fries, and not the soda.

    • props_nyc says:

      he ate the fries and soda, he actually had to upsize whenever prompted by the cashier, hence the “supersize me”.

      he actually started fearing that question “would you like to supersize it?” in anticipation of gutbusting quantities.

      • proud-infidel says:

        Dondegroovily is not talking about the main guy from the movie. It’s the guy that he talks to that has consumed a big-mac each day for many many years and the guy was obviously not fat.

    • Mr_Human says:

      He might not have been fat, but he gained a lot of weight during the “experiment.” I believe he said it took him something like 9 months to go back to his earlier weight.

    • SyntaxError says:

      And his liver and kidney functions were suffering at the end of the 30 days.

  17. ChuckECheese says:

    Maybe I could get with this diet if it were Del Taco instead of Taco Bell. And if it included Macho Combo Burritos. Quesadillas are diet, aren’t they? They’re so flat, so thin.

  18. Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

    I used to eat at Taco Bell all the time, but now I actually avoid it, because I know by food will either be old and nasty, or just not made very well. Shame, cause I used to spend a ton of monies there.

  19. eirrom says:

    In the ad, the pretty woman says that each of the items is under 9 grams of fat. That sounds great but how many people eat only one taco, or two or even three or more? Pretty soon, the fat grams start to add up. I’m FAT enough without going on the Taco Bell Diet. How can that even remotely work?

    I’ll stick with the Subway Diet. I love those Turkey and Ham Footlongs!

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      That’s what I started doing, only not with tacos. When I first started getting the gardenbuger/morningstar farms type sandwich makin’s I’d be tempted to make two, but I’d ultimately decide to go with just one. I did splurge this weekend and made a double decker with MSF’s grillers patties, but that’s becoming more rare as my stomach shrinks. I also pretty much cut out fries, chips, and most fried and fatty sides. It’s been a change, but I’ve dropped about 24 pounds so far. I’m 20 out from my goal of 190, and the way things look now, I may actually be able to push past that and get to 180.

    • Nogard13 says:

      It’s not the grams of fat that should concern you, it’s the calories. A hard-shell beef taco (fresco style) has only 150 calories. A turkey and ham footlong has 600 calories (and that’s only with lettuce, tomato, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers). If you choose white or wheat, you’re fine, but any other bread adds about 100-120 calories, not to mention the calories in pickles, black olives, oil/vinegar, mustard, and anything else you add.

      You can eat 4 crunchy tacos (fresco style) for the same amount of calories. I don’t know about you, but 4 tacos are enough to fill me up. You can make them chicken soft tacos for 10 calories more per taco, too!

      • Julia789 says:

        Well, grams of fat is *sometimes* a handy estimator/indicator as to what to stay away from. A gram of fat packs 9 calories, a gram of carb or protein has 4 calories. Something loaded with many grams of fat vs. a similar item with less fat is likely to have less (unless it’s been replaced with many more grams of sugar. Such is the problem with processed food.)

        Yes when dieting the calorie is king. Calories in vs. calories out. But we should be moving beyond mere calories and concentrating on what we’re putting in our bodies that is healthful. 9 grams of saturated fat, hydrogenated oil or cholesterol is not as kind as 9 grams of veggie oil in a stir fry veggie curry dish.

        Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html

        That is the golden rule to a healthful diet. :-)

  20. catskyfire says:

    One thing to consider: A diet of pretty much the same thing will tend to make you lose weight. This is mostly due to the fact that you get bored of the taste, and begin to eat because you need to, not because you want to.

    Imagine eating the same type sandwich every day. At first, it might be ‘great sandwich!’. Later on, it’s like “…I’m not hungry anymore, and I can’t eat another bite of this…”

    • ChuckECheese says:

      This is absolutely true, and has been studied. Having a wide variety of foodstuffs available – either on your plate in one meal, in your refrigerator, or as a variety of fast-food choices near your home – leads to increased eating and increased weight. Restricting choices is a good way to reduce your consumption, and to train your body to eat because of hunger rather than for the sense of novelty that a wide variety of foodstuffs provides.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        I seem to remember an article on Lifehacker about saving money on lunches that stated that the main draw of going out for lunch every day was more the novelty than the food itself. I can see how taking the novelty away could diminish a certain dish’s attractiveness.

  21. Outrun1986 says:

    This is probably really unhealthy for the average person, 1200-1250 calories is basically starvation, and you definitely should not be cutting down that drastically unless you have consulted with a doctor first.

    If you routinely eat Mcdonalds burgers and fries and then start eating Taco Bell all of a sudden unless you are consuming extreme portions of Taco Bell you will probably lose weight. Although there are foods at Taco bell that are very high in fat and calories too so it would really depend on what you are consuming, as with any restaurant. If you went from a Big Mac or Whopper Value meal to a bean burrito then your probably going to lose weight.

  22. tape says:

    personally, it is impossible for me at this point in my life to dissociates “Taco Bell” and “the squirts”, no matter how “fresco” the menu items may be.

    so no, I will not be attempting this.

  23. firemunkie says:

    wendys small chilli and double cheeseburger cost 99 cents each and only have like 550 calories together. add a medium diet drink and u have a good meal for less then 4 bux with tax.

    thats my go to meal when feeling fat and poor

  24. NORMLgirl says:

    The fresco menu has been out for at least 4 or 5 years and I am so glad it hasn’t been discontinued. I love the chicken ranchero taco and it is only 4g of fat. I wouldn’t lose any weight by eating there regularly for sure bc i rarely eat fast food.

    But, if someone who regularly eats the taco bell meals with a big ol’ Mt. Dew to wash it down switched to a couple of fresco tacos and water–they would definitely be doing themselves a favor and would probably lose some lbs.

  25. HeartBurnKid says:

    I actually did lose about 70 lbs. eating quite a few lunches from fast food joints a couple of years ago, and Taco Bell was pretty high on my list. The Fresco stuff was practically my bread and butter; 2 Fresco tacos or a Fresco burrito, a small side of Spanish rice, and a diet soda, and you have a nice lunch under 500 calories. They were much more useful than the burger places, where I was pretty much limited to one particular sandwich and a side salad (and I came to hate Carl’s Jr’s salads during that time, let me tell you).

  26. dg says:

    mmmmm…. yummy sour cream dispensed from a CAULKING GUN!!! NOT!

    Fake meat? NOT!

    Chalupa? What the?!?!?! …. NOT!

    Just eat LESS of what you’ve been consuming… Do MORE exercise. When you have a net increase of calories burned vs. calories consumed, you’ll start burning fat and will lose some weight (I say some, because it could be replaced with muscle).

    Start walking everywhere you can.

  27. metsarethe... says:

    I think Whitecastle could be next since I’m running to the bathroom after I eat it

  28. pot_roast says:

    I saw these ads and was actually impressed about how honest they were. The actress says “These results are not typical..” as part of her dialogue. Nice to HEAR it instead of trying to find it in the small print. Speaking of the small print, it was also pretty straight forward and honest. It also wasn’t that small.

  29. pot_roast says:

    Taco Bell’s offerings sure beats the slop that Subway has to offer. :|

  30. tbail25 says:

    I prefer my 180 calorie Taco John crispy tacos, thank you very much.

  31. the_ill_consumer says:

    of course you’d lose weight. The last time I ate at Taco Bell I got Salmonella poisoning. Threw up for a whole day, couldn’t eat for 2 more, lost like 5 pounds! Thanks Taco Bell!

  32. cojo says:

    A good friend of mine has always been a fast food addict. A few years ago, he joined Weight Watchers (essentially, counting calories). When he realized that he could eat ANYTHING on WW as long as it didn’t exceed his daily points, his eyes lit up. He pulled out a Taco Bell nutritional guide, wrote down the points of each item, and went through the drive thru EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. He ordered all the food his points allowed, scarfed it down, and ate nothing else for the rest of the day.

    The man lost 80 pounds.

    (Yes, I know in theory you are supposed to adhere to “rules” about how 5 fruits & veggies per day, etc. I am fairly sure he must have been ignoring those rules. But he was still running a caloric deficit, so he lost weight.)

    We never imagined it could spawn a lucrative marketing deal, because most people recoil in horror when he tells them about how he lost all the weight.

  33. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Cutting out fast food altogether will lose you even more weight.

    • Coelacanth says:

      I think the point is to eat fewer calories, period. It doesn’t matter so much what their source happens to be. A 500-Calorie meal from a fast food joint is much more likely to be conducive for weight loss than a 1,000-Calorie home-cooked “organic” meal made from locally-grown, sustainable food sources.

      If it be fast food, more power to them!

  34. TheRealMarySue says:

    I’m on the tasty food diet. I only eat food that’s tasty. Taco Bell? Not tasty.

    And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go downstairs and eat the tacos I made for dinner last night. Handmade tortillas, beans that were slow-cooked for 8 hours with a piece of hamhock, brown basmati rice, fresh cilantro and green onions, and a pico de gallo I tossed together in the mortar at the last second.

  35. friendlynerd says:

    I know it has its detractors but I happen to love Taco Bell. Ever since the Fresco option came out I’ve been a much bigger fan. I must have a stomach of steel because it’s never caused me the digestive issues people complain about.

  36. WickedKoala says:

    It’s a sad state of affairs when one proclaims they want to go on a diet and lose weight but not give up their fast food.

  37. PacerDawn says:

    I have been on the Taco Bell Diet for years. It’s simple. Eat at taco bell, and 30 minutes later you are guaranteed to drop 1-2 pounds (depending on number of bean burritos consumed).

  38. ander_bobo says:

    Weight loss boils down to calories in v. calories out, HOWEVER, being healthy includes alot more than just how many calories you eat. For many people sodium is a huge issue and even in alot of these healthy items, especially at Taco Bell, one serving has almost an entire day’s worth of sodium. The fresco bean burrito has almost 1300 mg of sodium in ONE serving. 1500-2000 mg is considered a healthy amount of sodium per day. So yes, while one may lose weight following this diet plan, there are far more nutritious and just as convenient options available.

  39. Maous says:

    People should have more common sense than to think going and just eating Taco Bell will make them skinny, but commercials like this are getting to the point where I’d think a PSA informing people on how exactly weight loss works is needed. No such thing as a miricle food, people.
    Except maybe Kiwis. Those things are amazing. Even if they do look like an unflattering part of male genitalia.

  40. Cantras says:

    You know, the word “splurge” means something entirely different from the mental image I get from the thought “Taco bell splurge”

  41. misslisa says:

    I had a good friend in college who went from morbidly obese (at least 300 lbs) to 120 lbs over the course of one school year by going on a Pizza Hut diet. She ate only one personal pan pizza, usually the veggie, each day, with a diet Pepsi. She also allowed herself one shot of vodka per night. As I marveled at her story and huge weight loss over the summer, I asked, “What about exercise, did you start working out?” She replied, “Oh yes, we’ve been going dancing every night.” “We” being her new drug dealer friends who were selling her Escstacy and meth! (Keep in mind this was 1984 or 85, when Ecstacy was still legal and meth was not widely known). That was the other side of the equation: appetite loss. Conclusion: You can lose lots of weight with fast food and drugs!

  42. MrEvil says:

    Yet again, people getting all the glory doing something anybody can do. I’ve lost 100 pounds in the past year or so by doing NOTHING more than exercising a bit of self control and increasing my amount of physical activity marginally.

    Last Thanksgiving I weighed 385 pounds, right now I weigh 285. No special diet, no pills, no video trainer, its just called “Stop cramming your face you fat turd!”

  43. Aaron says:

    You have to read this review……funny stuff

    The Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet….weight loss miracle or a great big load of corporate bullsh*t?