Taco Bell's "Drive Thru Diet" Isn't Really A Diet, After All

It's not surprising that diet companies are pushing their products hard during New Year's resolution season, but you know things have gotten a little out of control when even Taco Bell hops on the ol' weight loss bandwagon.


The weirdest part of the Taco Bell "Drive-Thru Diet" is that it clearly isn't a diet at all. Perhaps taking a page from Subway's Jared playbook, Taco Bell's "Drive Thru Diet" campaign revolves around a spokeswoman named Christine, who claims to have lost 54 pounds over the past few years by making healthier food choices, such as substituting her typical greasy fast food fare for lower-calorie items from Taco Bell's menu. The site for the campaign constantly stresses that the "Drive Thru Diet" is not a weight loss program, but instead a push to get consumers to try to make healthier choices in their everyday lives, both through exercise and healthy eating. Essentially, what Taco Bell is saying is that sometimes, even when you're trying to lose weight, you need a healthy option on-the-go, and the 7 items on their menu might be a decent choice. It's not a terrible idea, and it's nice to see a chain offering healthier items and pushing its customers to make healthier choices, but there's something a bit off in the execution.

If you don't read the actual "Drive Thru Diet" site, the commercial does give the false impression that Christine's weight loss is directly related to eating Taco Bell items, a la Jared, who allegedly lost all of his weight by eating nothing but Subway sandwiches for a year or so. If Taco Bell doesn't want consumers to think their wacky new promotion is a weight loss plan, then why didn't they call it something like the "Healthy Options Menu?" Christine's dramatic weight loss didn't come from low-fat burritos—it came from calorie reduction, and Taco Bell just happened to be a part of that. The whole thing sort of reeks of opportunistic marketing and post-New Year's promotion, though I'm sure once the New Year's resolution craze dies down, Taco Bell will return to pushing "melty fourth meals" to rapping white boys from the suburbs and all will once again be right with the fast food world.

Drive Thru Diet [Taco Bell]



What really drives me nuts about the diet dialogue is the assumption that the same thing is going to work for everyone, and if it doesn't, there's something wrong with you, not the diet. Yes, you need to cut calories and increase activity, but how you do it, and how you sustain it is going to be totally unique to your needs. I've lost a lot of weight, and I did it in a manner that made sense for me, but probably wouldn't work for most people. So maybe a "drive-through" diet works for Christine. I think it's ridiculous, and I think fast food is the devil, but if it works, and she's happy then more power to her.

People need to stop looking for a one-size fits all diet, give up on the fantasy of being thin (because thin is genetically determined) and figure out a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable long term.

/end rant