Why Does Taco Bell Hate Low Carbers?!

Well, phoo. It's official: There is not a single darned low carb item on the menu at Taco Bell. Used to be that I could order a taco salad, hold the beans, double the chicken or beef, and simply not eat the shell. Wasn't a gourmet meal, but it was nutritionally acceptable, and tasted okay.

I had a very busy day going today -- which is why I'm writing this at 9:11 pm -- and found myself hungry while running around doing errands. The only fast food place in the neighborhood was the Taco Bell, so I stopped in to order my one standby, only to have the counter clerk tell me that somewhere along the line Taco Bell has added rice to all of their taco salads. So I ordered a chicken taco salad, hold the beans and rice, double the chicken, only to find that it came with tortilla strips. Not just tortilla strips on top, mind you, but tortilla strips tossed in with the chicken and shredded cheese. I violated every rule of etiquette, and used my fingers to pick the tortilla strips out as I went. It's pretty much impossible to do the job with a plastic spork. Why, exactly, does a salad served in a tortilla need more pieces of tortilla in it?

The counter clerk told me that Taco Bell Central had added all that starchy ballast because people were complaining the taco salads didn't "have enough stuff in them" -- they just weren't filling enough.

Whatever. Taco Bell has now lost what little business I gave them. Enough fast food places have grilled chicken salads, and most can supply a bunless burger. Why would I bother with Taco Bell's Fiesta of Cheap Crappy Carbs? Steer clear.

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Yeah, they hate us

It's really a shame. What my mom does is order several plain hard tacos and just remove the meat to eat, but there's really not that much meat in one of their tacos. I find that too expensive to do. In order to get enough to eat I have to order at least 4 tacos.

So what I do is go to Chipotle or Qdoba and get a burrito in a bowl/naked burrito. Still expensive, but I get a whole lot more variety and food for my money! And there is at least one location that doesn't charge me full price, given that I'm not getting a lot of what they normally throw into it. At that place I can actually eat cheaper than at Taco Bell. I explained to the manager that I'm eating under 50% of what they normally put on a burrito: no rice, no beans, no shell, not much pico de gallo or salsa, but I'm happy to pay for extra guac. That manager realized that what I was saying was right. He couldn't see making me pay for a bowl of lettuce and meat with a little cheese, a little pico, and a little sour cream on top.

Other locations, though, have no conscience, and do. In those cases, I make them put all the carby stuff in another bowl. I take that home and use it in burritos for my family, or if my family's with me, they split it all up so no one person's having a carb fest. And because the store is packaging it all up separately, it's costing them some money (as well as less-frequent patronage from me).

Soft taco

When I first went low carb, I would often get their soft flour tacos. I kept a fork in my car and would just eat the filling and throw away the tortilla. The paper wrapper they used held everything together quite well. It's been years since I've done that though, so I don't know if they've changed the ingredients.

Well, their crunchy taco is 9

Well, their crunchy taco is 9 grams of carbs if you need a quick bite or snack. I found some crunchy taco shells at the store for 6 grams a piece...and homemade tacos are so much better anyway.

Taco Hell, indeed

You must have been hungry to resort to Taco Hell.

I cringe when I think of how I and my family loved Taco Bell back in the 70s. We didn't have any TBs near us where we lived in NYS, but there was one near my aunt's house two states away, and one midway on the route there. For many years our extended family gathered at my aunt's place for Easter weekend, and the big formal family dinner was held on Saturday because everyone had a long drive home on Sunday. We'd hit the road right after everyone had Sunday "Easter dinner" at Taco Bell.

Fast forward 20-30 years and you couldn't pay me to eat at a Taco Hell, not even if I was starving. I don't know exactly when I lost my appetite for reconstituted Mexican food, but it definitely predates my conversion to Low Carb eating (in 1998 I ate LC during my third trimester because of gestational diabetes, then for Low Carb for good since 2004). I think my last nail went into the Taco Hell coffin was while reading Eric Schlosser's Fat Food Nation. Schlosser describes how Taco Bell has taken out ALL the cooking out of their food preparation - most items are reconstituted with water and heated up, then assembled. Taco Hell's menu is idiot-proof to prepare, requiring little training, culinary experience, or intelligence, which allows them to hire unskilled part-time labor at the lowest cost.

PIzza hell

I remember eating my face and stomach full (and you know how they can both be separate entities!) at a pizza place when I was pre-low carb. We were so stuffed we asked for a doggy-bag to take the uneaten pizza home. We lived three miles from the pizza place, but I ate it all before the bus arrived (and in London, England, these are very regular, even late at night). And they say Chinese food only fills you for an hour!