May 5, 2008, - 12:59 pm

Attention, Food Police: Look What Taco Bell is Doing

By Debbie Schlussel
Taco Bell had better watch out for the food police.
The fast food chain is offering the “Big Bell Box Meal” for $4.99. For that, you get a Bacon Club Chalupa, Beef Crunchy Taco, Bean Burrito, Cinnamon Twists, and a large drink. “Eat Like a Man,” is the slogan for the new meal.
But “whine like a liberal statist” might be another suitable slogan. That’s because every time a fast food restaurant comes out with a supersized economical offering like this, the PC food police come out in full force, with their calorie scales and fat calipers.

bigbellboxmeal.jpg

Big Bell Box Meal: If Only It Were Kosher . . .

We haven’t heard from the Center for the Study of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in a while, and these food geeks are dying for an opportunity like this to speak out on the dangers of food and eating to human survival.
And then there’s Morgan Spurlock. With his “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?” outbombing all the IEDs in Iraq and only earning about $300,000 in its first two weeks, he might be tempted to try to lie about the fast food chain like he did about McDonald’s.
The fact is, despite the whining by upper middle-class food nannies, Americans like these high calorie meals. That’s why fast food chains keep offering them up.
I’m not saying obesity isn’t a problem in America. It is, and it’s growing and, er . . . expanding. But food offerings like the Big Bell Box Meal aren’t what makes Americans fat. Laziness and lack of discipline is. No-one’s putting a gun to Taco Bell’s head to offer these meals. Fast food chains offer these supersized meals as a convenience and way to offer up an economically sound big meal in an economically tough time.
The marketplace works. Leave it to the food police to whine and try to stop it.
But Taco Bell makes clear that this is “a meal that’s made for men,” not for Spurlock.

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11 Responses

Have to disagree with you on this one. First, there is nothing wrong with disclosing the nutritional breakdown of fast foods. People can eat them or not eat them as they see fit; I recognize the free market, but why not be informed? I personally avoid all fast food restaurants, but many are not in a position to do this. I incur trenedous expense and time in avoiding unhealthy restaurant food, on the assumption that most of it is unhealthy anyway, but what’s wrong with disclosure requirements?
It is well established that in general health and nutrition is a combination of diet and exercise. While I certainly won’t argue against sufficient exercise, it is complementary to nutrition. Dieticians have long understood many of the healthy benefits of fruits, veggies, beans & whole grains, and the unhealthy aspects of donuts, & other foods with high sugar, trans fats and saturated fats.
Finally CSPI does go off the deep end in some of their campaigns. On the other hand, they have published much useful information about foods in their monthly newsletters, and are responsible for a number of the food labeling requirements that do exist. I can’t see how this information, easily produced by the food industry is onerous or burdensome. There are computer programs, that if you enter the ingredients and the quantities, spit out (no pun intended) the nutrition info.

c f on May 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Debbie – the greatest problem in the world today is hunger. Brought about by the Left’s anti-human environmental policies, like diverting food production into biofuels. I don’t see what the big deal is about plenty of food at a cheap price. Hunger is a more serious problem than global warming. No one has ever died of the planet’s temperature allegedly rising a degree or two but people have died because they couldn’t afford their next meal. Kudos to Taco Bell for getting it right.

NormanF on May 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm

I just went to the nutritional information for this food; about 13.5 grams saturated fat, that’s about 120-125 calories saturated fat, or a little over 5% of intake for a 2000 calorie diet, with a total caloric intake of abut 500 calories, 1/4 of the average diet. So 1/4 of total calories has an entire day’s intake of saturated fat — most dieticians and the best hospitals recommend total saturated fat intake of about 5% total calories. Sodium intake is about 2,700 milligrams, or almost twice as much as recommended by leading hospitals & medical schools for the average older person or one with cardiac issues; trans fat is listed as .5 gram; any is bad, but trans fat labelling requirements are deceptive. It is legal to say zero trans fat if a serving has under .5 gram; so it could have .49999 grams and say 0, or .999 grams and say .5.
The sugar in the cinnamon is damaging for anyone who is diabetic or pre-diabetic, and many with this condition don’t kow it.
Many men who eat this ‘man’s; meal are running the risk of higher blood pressure, more clogged arteries, and higher risk or faster development of numerous other degenerative diseases.
Again, I am not saying they don’t have a right to eat this, and I agree the restaurant has the right to advertise it. Re exercise, this meal has about 500 calories, so an hour of jogging to burn it off. However, even if exercise burns off the calories, many of the harmful aspects of the sodium, saturated fat, sugar & probably trans fats will remain.
I don’t see what’s wrong with conservatives’ promoting of healthy choices, while recognizing the right of Taco Belle & similar restaurants to sell in the free market.
I just wish I didn’t have to pay a health insurance premium that includes the population that eats this stuff.

c f on May 5, 2008 at 5:27 pm

I’ve read several studies that claim the average American isn’t eating any more calories than they did as far back as the fifties. These studies mainly focused on students.
What we AREN’T doing anymore is exercising. We have be come a nation of couch potatoes and videoholics. Perhaps there is even a causal effect when it comes to the era when television became popular. IOW, we’ve been sitting on our asses for the last three generations instead of getting out and being active.
To c f: Whatever risky behavior your lifestyle consists of is also factored in when it comes to MY insurance. Do you Ski, ride a motorcycle, smoke, jog, etc…your habits and pastimes may also be considered high risk. We all pay for each other.
When it comes to food and nutrition I want to make my own informed choices and not allow the food police to make my choices for me. It seems as if some of you would rather be led by the nose by the Nanny State.

Rich B on May 5, 2008 at 6:55 pm

The answer to the the Nanny State is the Libertarian Party. The Federal government would screw up a two car funeral. We need less government and more personal responsibility at the federal, state and local levels.
http://www.lp.org

ParaLyzer on May 5, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Rich B, you lament the lack of exercise and then cite jogging as a likely high-risk activity. Contradictory, and inaccurate, since a multitude of studies show the healthful benefits of jogging. I don’t know who “some of ou” are — I never suggested the Government should dictate people’s food choices; enforcing disclosure info about nutrition doesn’t compel people’s food choices. Lack of exercise is a problem, but so is lousy diet. Portions are getting bigger and bigger, and frequency of snacks is getting worse and worse; the quality of calories is getting worse and worse. Even if the people who espouse exercise actually did it, a poor diet would cancel many of its effects, even without weight gain, but sadly, many of the people who talk about the importance of exercise don’t do it.

c f on May 5, 2008 at 7:56 pm

All I am saying is leave it up to the consumer-only a fool would eat this and not know what kind of food it is-if not, than you are a idiot.

mindy1 on May 5, 2008 at 9:22 pm

“…… he might be tempted to try to lie about the fast food chain like he did about McDonald’s.”
———————————
Debbie, what lies about McD’s did Spurlock make in “Supersize Me”? I tried googling and all I could come up with are references to what appears to be an even more idiotic movie named “Fat Head”. Then there’s the movie “Me and Mickey D”. Well, OK, but that’s not what Spurlock set out to do.
I’m a parent. I see what an increase in junk food did to me over the years. I care about my kids not eating all this garbage big business hawks to us all.
When I visit the US, I definitely see a lot more obesity than there was years ago and I travel to numerous locales on my business trips. BTW, the same is true here in Israel – tremendous overweight problems. And the drug industry is thriving on the symptoms of people stuffing themselves to the gills.
CF’s posts above are logical and reasonable. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what is and isn’t good for you.

Shy Guy on May 6, 2008 at 2:26 am

One final comment — food companies often package food deceptively; something can be called ‘whole grain’ with as little as 25% whole grain;it can sao no trans-fat but be slathered with unhealthy palm oil; meat can say 90% lean and be close to 50% fat, because the 90% lean is by weight and not by caloric count. That’s why I favor full disclosure of food information. It’s not always eay to figure out the nutritional content of items, even when time is devoted to it.

c f on May 6, 2008 at 6:57 am

I am diabetic- had juvenile diabetes for over 25 years now, and believe me- I know what I’m eating. I dont’ think you need to be Einstein to look at a cinnamon stick and know it probably has roughly 50 to 60 grams of carbohydrates (carbs by the way- not sugars specifically or calories at all are what is the nemesis of a diabetic).
The fact is, that as a diabetic I can eat ANYTHING I want, as long as I conver the carbs with insulin and burn them off accordingly with execrise. For the record I’m 5’9 and weight between 120 and 130 lbs (depending on how my insulin sensitivity varies).
With all that being said, Taco Bell has the right to sell that stuff. They’re providing a good deal in a down economy with that box. It’s up to the individual to take all the information available in this marvelous age of the internet and other sources that didnt’ exist even a decade ago, and make their own choices.
Isn’t freedom all about personal responsibility? To hell with the nanny state.
sorry for the rant- I just left my monthly excusrion to point and laugh at Media Matters site and to leave a few jabs in the comments. I got a little “exuberant” LOL

Mistress_Dee on May 7, 2008 at 11:33 am

Its up to the consumer not CSPI or PCRM to decide and its time for JEREMY RIFKIN,NEAL BENARD,MARION NESTLY,MICHEAL JACONSEN,RAPLH NADER and MORGAN SPURLOCK to GO POUND SAND

Mad Bluebird on August 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm

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