October 2014: Taco Bell nutrition facts can be downloaded below.
Taco Bell deserves kudos for being one of the first “fast food” chains to voluntarily put their nutrition facts and ingredient statements online. While many of the chain’s menu items would not be the first choice of calorie-conscious individuals, there are enough lo-cal and low fat items to please most consumers. In addition, the chain also offers items that are vegetarian, gluten-free and allergy sensitive. As a restaurant that strives for “nutrition transparency”, the attached nutrition pdf plainly shows that the company offers far more information about its ingredients than any other “quick service” organization.
Menu items include those on would expect to find in a “Mexican” restaurant. There are, of course, Tacos (crunchy or soft), Burritos, Nachos, Chalupas, and Gorditas. Most of the menu items can be had with your choice of meat (beef, steak, chicken). Several Taco Bell entrees are vegetarian, or can be ordered without meat. The restaurant also serves a number of entrees that are quite tasty but, unfortunately, not a good choice for those counting calories. The calorie count also varies widely within the various “food groups”. A Bean or Chili Cheese Burrito, for example, has only 370 calories, while the menu calories attributed to the XXL Grilled Steak Stufft Burrito – Steak is a whopping 840. Most of the breakfast items, while yummy, can be quite high on the fat and calorie scale.
Still, despite the unequal nutritional values of some of Taco Bell’s offerings, they must receive high points for using fresh, quality ingredients – and for finally answering that nagging question: “What’s in your beef?” It’s beef. 100% USDA beef – and spices. Fire grilled, drained of fat – spices added – that’s it. Sorry, no major conspiracy here. The cheese is cheese and the veggies are straight from the farm. The pico de gallo is made fresh every day, and the beans are vegetarian.
Even though some of their dishes go above and beyond the suggested daily caloric intake, Taco Bell has really gone out of its’ way to follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Nutrition Labeling and Education Act. They are completely open about all their ingredients and the nutritional value of all their products. For their dedication to transparency, they certainly deserve praise and a few extra squeezes of Fire Sauce.
Click on Taco Bell Nutrition Facts to download the PDF
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