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What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Too Much Taco Bell

Taking a trip to the Bell every day? Here's what you need to know about eating too much of the chain's fast food.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

When we're craving Tex-Mex, nothing comes to the rescue quite like a quick stop to eat Taco Bell. No matter what you feel like, the fast-food chain has a ton of menu choices to select from, and can satiate hunger like no one's business. If you love to indulge with a few tacos or burritos, that feeling of leaving stuffed isn't hard to come by and really tops off any trip to this chain.

While we love to make a taco run every now and then, the food from Taco Bell makes our body immediately go through some changes if we're eating too much of it. To figure out exactly what happens when we dig into too many tacos at Taco Bell, we asked experts to weigh in on what to expect after we eat at the Tex-Mex megalith.

Read on to learn exactly what physiological changes happen after one too many Taco Bell runs, and for more helpful eating tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

1

Wide-spread inflammation.

taco bell
Shutterstock

When you eat fast food, inflammation feels unavoidable.

"[A] fast-food diet is one that contains processed and ultra-processed ingredients, usually processed vegetable oils, added sodium, added sugars, as well as food colorants, dyes, fillers, and preservatives," says Dr Uma Naidoo,​ MD, Nutritional Psychiatrist and author of ​This Is Your Brain on Food. "These are all substances that are pro-inflammatory to the brain and body."

"We know from research that our gut microbiome changes within a 24-hour period so whatever you eat, healthy or unhealthy, has an effect," says Dr. Naidoo. "If you are selecting a fast food or junk food diet, the impact on the microbiome is negative. Poor food choices feed the bad bugs in our gut, helping them thrive and take over the good bugs (meant to help and protect us). Over time, the bad bugs cause inflammation, which can lead to leaky gut and neuroinflammation."

If you love the chain but have a hard time putting down the burrito, take a glimpse at 5 Ugly Side Effects of Eating Taco Bell, According to Nutritionists.

2

Feelings of hunger.

taco bell nachos
Taco Bell/Yelp

"There is little fresh whole food with fiber and nutrients in fast foods so they move through your digestive system quickly and you often feel hungry soon after," Dr. Naidoo says.

This change comes as a result of an insulin spike. According to The Washington Post, eating at a fast-food chain like Taco Bell causes our insulin to spike while our blood sugar drops. This quick dive in blood sugar makes us feel that extra hunger, even after we eat a ton of tacos.

Here are 9 Warning Signs You're Not Eating Enough Fiber.

3

Increased anxiety.

Taco Bell fiesta salad
Dina C./Yelp

These same insulin spikes that make us still feel hunger also lead to feelings of anxiety and tension.

"Simple carbohydrates and processed foods move through the digestive tract very quickly as there is not usually healthy fiber or complex carbs to slow the process down," says Dr. Naidoo. "This leads to insulin spikes."

According to the same Washington Post report, these insulin spikes cause mood shifts and feelings of anxiety that come with them.

You may also want to steer clear of these 17 Foods That Make Your Depression and Anxiety Worse.

4

Developing brain fog.

taco bell tacos
Shutterstock

"With a diet high in unhealthy trans fats, added sugars, and processed foods, the brain struggles to think clearly," says Dr. Naidoo.

"Diets high in saturated fat can also have an effect on your cognitive abilities," says Jay Cowin, ASYSTEM's Registered Nutritionist and Director of Formulations. "Brain inflammation and insulin resistance, caused by saturated fatty acids, have been implicated in cognitive deficits."

5

Raised blood pressure.

taco bell burrito
Shutterstock

"Often, it's the salt and sugar in fast food that's so problematic," says John Fawkes certified nutrition counselor, NSCA CPT, and editor at evidence-based wellness resource The Unwinder. "Sugar especially tends to be artificial to keep prices down, with both added to processed foods to keep them tasty. Folks who eat too much fast food like Taco Bell are increasing their chances of complications stemming from diets too high in salt and sugar. Think things like hypertension, diabetes, and metabolic dysfunction to heart disease."

"For instance, just a side order of Taco Bell's Mexican Rice delivers over a third of your daily recommended sodium, which experts advise to keep around 2,000 to 2,300 milligrams a day," says Fawkes. "That's just a side portion, too!"

"Then look at something like the taco salad, which folks think is healthier but also comes in with a whopping 1,000 milligrams of sodium. Don't even get started with the salt and sugar levels in their sauces, including the ubiquitous nacho cheese."

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Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more
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