News

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut Are Removing Artificial Ingredients

Black pepper flavor, high fructose corn syrup and trans fat: The first, an artificial flavor enhancer; the second, an additive shown to increase appetite; and the third, a health-harming manufactured fat. These are just a few of the ingredients that Taco Bell and Pizza Hut plan to nix from their meals by the end of 2015.

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut Are Removing Artificial Ingredients
News

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut Are Removing Artificial Ingredients

Black pepper flavor, high fructose corn syrup and trans fat: The first, an artificial flavor enhancer; the second, an additive shown to increase appetite; and the third, a health-harming manufactured fat. These are just a few of the ingredients that Taco Bell and Pizza Hut plan to nix from their meals by the end of 2015.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, the news is hardly shocking. Panera and Chipotle both vowed to remove artificial ingredients from their menus earlier this year, so it was just a matter of time before other restaurants in the fast-food and fast-casual category followed suit. In addition to their artificial ingredient ban, the two Yum Brand! chains also announced that artificial preservatives will be removed "where possible" by 2017. They did note, however, that this initiative will not affect fountain drinks or co-branded products, such as its Doritos-flavored taco shells—those will still be doused in Yellow 6 and Caramel Coloring, artificial pigments shown to have adverse effects on human health.

Artificial ingredients or not, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut meals are still high in salt, sugar and fat, so no matter how you slice it, eating at the chains should still be an once and awhile indulgence, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or improve your health. If you really can’t imagine your weekly routine without ordering a pie, opt for thin crust with half cheese. Making this simple tweak to your order will save you mega calories and saturated fat, and since the crust is made from refined white flour, thinking thin will also ward off major insulin level spikes, keeping cravings for more at bay.

Get ready to celebrate the changes and find out which tacos are the best choice to order.

TACOS

FIRST … THE WORST


3

Double Decker Taco

Taco Bell Double Decker Taco

320 calories, 14g fat (5 g saturated), 710 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 2g sugars, 13 g protein

Cousin to the Gordita is the Double Decker Taco. But this side of the family has more bean than cheesy genes: the same layering of cheddar cheese, seasoned beef and iceberg lettuce, stuffed into a corn shell and sandwiched by refried beans and a flour flatbread. Opting for the Double Decker Taco over the Gorditas saves you 180 calories, 14-15 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium and 4-5 gram of carbs and thanks to the refried beans. You get 2 extra grams of satiating fiber.

2

Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Taco Bell Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch

500 calories, 28 g fat (10 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 880 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 20 g protein

Sibling to the previous waist sabotager, this gordita substitutes the traditional corn shell with a Doritos-inspired casing. Like true siblings, these two are neck-and-neck, but amazingly the Doritos version has one gram less of both fat and carbs. Both shells contain a laundry list of ingredients, but this one has additional artificial flavors with questionable pronunciation.

1

Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch

500 calories, 29 g fat (10 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 880 mg sodium, 41 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 20 g protein

As if Taco Bell needed any more help demolishing waistlines, they found one: the Gordita. This is one fatty, salty collaboration. A mix of cheddar and three cheeses is layered with seasoned beef, spicy ranch sauce and iceberg lettuce, then sandwiched between a corn shell and flour flatbread. Did we mention it also contains one gram of trans fat (which the FDA has banned from all food items) and approximately 60 percent of your daily sodium(http://www.eatthis.com/10-saltiest-foods-in-america) recommendation? This one is a definite pass.

AND NOW…THE BEST


5

Grilled Steak Soft Taco

Taco Bell Grilled Steak Soft Taco

200 calories, 10g fat (3.5 g saturated), 490 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 13 g protein

The first ingredient here is avocado, normally one of our favorite weight-loss foods … if it weren’t mixed with artificially flavored ranch sauce, cheddar cheese and iceberg lettuce. But we’re happy to see USDA-select grilled steak and fresh tomatoes make it into this flour tortilla.

4

Soft Taco

190 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated), 500 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 9 g protein.

Cheddar cheese, seasoned beef and iceberg lettuce assemble in a tortilla for less than 200 calories and 17 grams of carbs. But it still contains a third of your daily sodium allowance, so limit yourself to one.

3a

Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos

Taco Bell Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos

170 calories, 10g fat (3.5 g saturated), 380 mg sodium, 13 g carbs, 3 g fiber, <1 g sugars, 8 g protein

The next three all tie for 6th place: Cheddar cheese, seasoned beef and iceberg lettuce are wrapped in a Fiery, Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese Doritos Shell. Opting for a hard corn shell cuts sodium counts. If you live for extremes, choose one of these and skip the supreme versions. You’ll still get flavor and crunch without excess fat and sodium.

3b

Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos

Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos

170 calories, 10g fat (3.5 g saturated), 380 mg sodium, 13 g carbs, 3 g fiber, <1 g sugars, 8 g protein

3c

Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos

Taco Bell NAcho Cheese Dorito’s Locos Taco

170 calories, 10g fat (3.5 g saturated), 370 mg sodium, 13 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 8 g protein

2

Crunchy Taco

Taco Bell Crunchy Taco

170 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 320 mg sodium, 13 g carbs, 3 g fiber, <1 g sugars, 8 g protein.

Taco Bell’s Crunchy Taco has been around for three years, and it’s the nearest thing to the primordial version: Cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce and seasoned beef wrapped in a taco shell for less than 200 calories and one gram of sugar. Although it’s not our first choice, it’s close.

AND THE BEST TACO BELL TACO…


1

Chicken Soft Taco

Taco Bell Chicken Soft Taco

160 calories, 5g fat (2.5 g saturated), 480 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 2 g fiber,1 g sugars, 12 g protein

If you’re not into crunch, the shredded chicken soft taco is just 160 calories, has the lowest amount of fat (5 g) and offers 12 grams of protein. Downside: The flour tortilla has a moderately high sodium count.