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Thread: Subway had Jared, now Taco Bell's got Christine

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Cool Subway had Jared, now Taco Bell's got Christine





    Dieticians Divided Over Taco Bell's New Weight Loss Ads - ABC News

    They Lost Weight, But Marketing Healthy Fast Food Has Diet Experts Divided
    By LAUREN COX
    ABC News Medical Unit
    Dec. 29, 2009—


    Just in time for the post-holiday gorge in front of the TV, Taco Bell is unleashing a weight loss advertisement campaign that is the first to compete with Subway's Jared Fogle.

    Meet Christine: A woman who lost 54 pounds in two years by choosing the low-fat "Fresco" menu items at Taco Bell in place of her old daily fast food choices.

    The counterintuitive and controversial pitch that fast food can be good for weight loss won Subway billions of dollars over its competitors in 2000. The before and after footage of Fogle, who lost 245 pounds in a year, boosted Subway's per store sales growth to seven times the industry average in 2000 and nearly doubled their previous year's sales, according to "Market Busters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth," published by the Harvard Business School Press.

    But dieticians are on the fence about whether these campaigns ultimately hurt or help a nation where more than a third of meals are eaten in restaurants and more than a third of the population is obese.

    "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!"

    Connie Diekman, a registered dietician and director of nutrition at Washington University in St Louis, pointed out that "fast food dining is a part of many people's lives, so having options that are healthier is very important -- the ads will hopefully make it clear that consumers or customers have choices, but they must make the healthier choices."

    Taco Bell picked up on that reality in the ads for the Drive-Thru Diet menu. "When I decided to trim down, I knew I had to be realistic with myself," Christine said in the ads. "I didn't want to cut out my fast food, so I started choosing Fresco items from the Drive-Thru Diet menu. These results aren't typical, but for me, they are fantastic."

    A host of caveats as long as some drug ads follow her story: Christine's weight loss was "exceptional" according to the commercials, her taco bell trips were part of a larger effort to cut calories down to 1250 a day, and the Taco Bell Drive Thru Diet shouldn't be considered a diet.

    Yet, some who study the fast food industry say such healthy choices campaigns can't undo the harm of the unhealthy campaigns.

    "This is preposterous. This is the same Taco Bell that has the Volcano Nachos (almost 1,000 calories), that boasts about the 1/2 pound cheesy potato burrito, that has systematically encouraged people to eat between meals with their 4th meal campaign," said Kelly D. Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.



    Diet Experts Debate the Idea of Healthy Fast Food
    "Sure, these restaurants try to look good by introducing a few healthier items, but when one considers what and how they market and what they offer incentives to buy (with package meals), the picture is not a positive one," said Brownell.

    Right or wrong, diet and public health experts agree Taco Bell's new campaign will likely seriously influence Americans who spend a great deal on fast food from their cars each year.

    "The entire restaurant industry is $390 billion a year, fast food is $230 billion of that," said Tom Wagner, vice president of Consumer Insights for Taco Bell.

    Although the line of "Fresco" burritos and tacos has existed for six years, the upcoming weeks will be the first time the majority of Taco Bell customers will see the low fat options on the menu.


    Moving Healthy to Drive-Thru Reaches Millions
    "They've been on the menu for several years, but people had to look for it inside," said Ruth Carey, a dietician and spokeswoman for the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet menu.

    Along with Christine, Taco Bell will move the Fresco option -- swapping cheese and high-fat sauce for salsa -- out to the drive-thru and package it in the Drive-Thru Diet menu.

    "Seventy percent of business is on the drive-thru," explained Wagner.

    Dieticians reached by ABCNews.com thought the items on the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet menu had a good handle on calories and fat, but had pitfalls in terms of salt and nutritional value.



    But Are the Healthy Choices Even Healthy?
    Bonnie Taub-Dix, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, pointed out that the Fresco Crunchy Taco, for example, "barely has protein" and that "half of the calories in that meal are coming from fat. If someone had this for lunch alone, I'd say it's an inadequate lunch."

    She was happy with the protein in the Fresco Burrito Supreme With Chicken, but not the salt.

    "The fat of that one is 70 out of the 340 calories," said Taub-Dix. "If you look at the sodium content, it's 1,410 milligrams, which is really about what you need for the whole day."

    Carey, who is also a sports nutritionist with the NBA alongside her work with Taco Bell, agreed that the salt content was high.

    "Taco Bell is aware that these Fresco items [contain] higher sodium than other items, and they're trying to find ways to lower the sodium and maintaining the taste," said Carey. But, she added, "any of those items can fit in moderation -- be aware that the rest of your day needs to have meals in lower sodium."

    Yet, some dieticians don't think those types of caveats will translate to the drive-thru on a busy day, or in the noise of other fast food commercials and marketing.

    "Yes, [Christine] said it took her two years and yes, she said her results were not typical, but I bet many people can't recall hearing that the first time they see or hear this spot," said Dr. Stephen Cook, of Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

    "There really shouldn't be a forbidden food, but it's tough for human nature to think in a moderate fashion when our perception of what is a normal serving size of a meal is lost in today's market place."

  2. #2
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Are they serious? Taco Bell-for losing weight? C'mon. Who the hell has the willpower to actually go to a Taco Bell and consistently choose the 'good' items, and in small quantities, when facing the menu boards? For every 3 time you did the right thing, there would be one time where you went haywire (diets do make you hungry) and ate 12 tacos and 5 burritos!


    No way could I include "Taco Bell" as part of a reasonable weight loss regime. Maybe occasionally as part of a longterm maintenance plan...
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    taco bell, grosssss
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sojiita View Post
    Are they serious? Taco Bell-for losing weight? C'mon. Who the hell has the willpower to actually go to a Taco Bell and consistently choose the 'good' items, and in small quantities, when facing the menu boards? For every 3 time you did the right thing, there would be one time where you went haywire (diets do make you hungry) and ate 12 tacos and 5 burritos!


    No way could I include "Taco Bell" as part of a reasonable weight loss regime. Maybe occasionally as part of a longterm maintenance plan...
    If one is on a long term weight loss plan - and "Christine" took 2 yrs apparently, one can compensate for a fast food meal within a week.

    Eating one every day (like the subway man) wouldn't work obviously, but its possible to have something like this every so often.....


    I think that Taco Bell are trying to point out a "healthy" option, but in truth its far from healthy.... I'd hate to think about the rest of their menu.


    Having said all that - having seen the menu nutritian details (Taco Bell Nutrition Information) even the salads are between 700-1000 calories..... Taco Bell would not be my choice for a fast-food-fix!
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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    I think it's a bit of a stretch for almost any fast food joint but a sub/sandwich shop to do this. With Subway it made sense, people could see how easy it would be to choose healthy options there - with Taco Bell people are likely to be scoffing and scratching their heads and generally laughing at the concept.
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    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    I went and looked at Taco Bell's nutritional guide and in their Fresco Menu the stuff is not bad on calories and fat, which is the only section that they're touting to be healthier. The sodium, however, is crazy.

    I wouldn't plan an entire weight loss plan off this, but if you're eating healthier overall, it won't torpedo your whole day.

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    Elite Member lisalucy69's Avatar
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    I agree that this is just Taco Bell trying to point out their healthier options, but to orchestrate a diet plan out of it is a bit of a stretch. If everyone were going to these places looking for healthier choices then they could choose salad, apple slices, and yogurt parfaits at McDonalds.

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    Elite Member Laxmobster's Avatar
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    Haha when I saw the commercial a few days ago, I couldn't help but laugh...Taco Hell as a weight loss option!

    I still love me some Taco Bell every now and then, even if it gives me the bubbleguts! Come to think of it, maybe that's their gimmick...
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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    I have to admit I did the subway thing and lost 30 pounds but it took me not going to any other place to eat as well as 4 months to lose it.

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    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
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    To be fair, Taco Bell doesn't stay in the system long as it comes out as quickly as it goes in

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    i wonder what her cholesterol levels are
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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    when i first saw this stupid ass commercial i thought it was a joke! but they were serious!

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L1049 View Post
    To be fair, Taco Bell doesn't stay in the system long as it comes out as quickly as it goes in
    I know right? It's like water with vinegar, expect there's a bigger chance of clogging your septic tank with poo juice.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sojiita View Post
    Are they serious? Taco Bell-for losing weight? C'mon. Who the hell has the willpower to actually go to a Taco Bell and consistently choose the 'good' items, and in small quantities, when facing the menu boards? For every 3 time you did the right thing, there would be one time where you went haywire (diets do make you hungry) and ate 12 tacos and 5 burritos!


    No way could I include "Taco Bell" as part of a reasonable weight loss regime. Maybe occasionally as part of a longterm maintenance plan...
    Back in the early to mid 90's, when Taco Bell first had a light menu, my wife and I would pick up food from their on the way home from school. Lite 7-layer burrito, etc. At the time, it was a healthy alternative to McDonald's and fries, but they ended up dropping the lite menu because, apparently, we were the only ones ordering off of it.

    I think you could lose weight if you ate burritos, but not the way Taco Bell makes them. Too much salt, cheese, sour cream, etc.

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    Elite Member Penny Lane's Avatar
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    $10 says some obese hillbilly tries this "diet", gains even more weight, and then sues Taco Bell.

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