Taco Bell customers might be surprised to find out they are eating something besides meat when they bite into their favorite taco treats.
As ABC News reported, the ground beef in your taco is only made up of 88 percent beef, leaving the other 12 percent of the “meat” a combination of added extras.Taco Bell/Instagram
Taco Bell fluffs the beef with eight added ingredients. The company revealed this in 2011 and explained why each one is put in the beef:
“It sounds weird, but it’s actually a form of mildly sweet sugar we use to balance the flavor. You may have had it the last time you had a natural soda.”
2. TORULA YEAST
“This is a form of yeast that gives our seasoned beef a more savory taste.”
3. MODIFIED CORN STARCH
“Actually, it’s derived from corn, which is a food staple in Mexican culture as well as many others. We use a small amount as a thickener and to maintain moisture in our seasoned beef. It’s common in many foods like yogurt.”
4. SOY LECITHIN
“When you prepare as much seasoned beef as we do, you don’t want it to separate. That’s what soy lecithin does. It helps (with moisture) to bind substances that would otherwise separate — like oil and water. It’s a common ingredient in many grocery staples, like chocolate bars and salad dressings.”
5. SODIUM PHOSPHATES
“To help make sure our seasoned beef is the right texture.
They’re also commonly found in deli items, cheeses, coffee drinks and desserts.”
6. LACTIC ACID
“This safe acid occurs in almost all living things, and we use a very small amount to manage the acidity to get the right flavor.”
7. CARAMEL COLOR AND COCOA POWDER
The caramel color “is caramelized sugar, which is a commonly used food coloring (also found in cereals and pancake syrup). Cocoa Powder doesn’t add any flavor to our recipe, but it helps our seasoned beef maintain a rich color.”
“It’s a naturally occurring sugar that we use to improve the taste of our seasoned beef.”
According to ABC News, the company said while the extra ingredients “do have weird names,” they’re all “safe and approved by the FDA.” Taco Bell stressed it only uses USDA-inspected “100 percent premium real beef” and no monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is added.
Derek Lowe, a chemist and blogger with a doctorate from Duke University, understands some people might be frightened by the add-in items, particularly those who use the argument “I can’t pronounce it, so I won’t eat it.” But he doesn’t see a problem with the list. He said:
“There’s nothing on this list I have a problem eating.”
While the strange list of ingredients added into the beef may seem like it should be a well-guarded secret, Taco Bell isn’t hiding it.
The restaurant even has a page devoted to detailing every last ingredient you are swallowing, right down to the drink you are sipping on.
So now you can see what you are truly eating when you place your next order for nachos.
The chain is also pushing healthy options and has a nutrition calculator on its website. A dietitian is quoted on the site saying:
Whether you’re looking for vegetarian, made without gluten, high protein, lower calorie/lower fat, in the mood for something indulgent, or all of the above, Taco Bell has food for all.
How about you? Will the “extra” beef ingredients scare you away, or will you continue to “Live Más” at Taco Bell?