The platonic ideal of responsible journalism

Pictured: Food Detective

Pictured: Food Detective

Good God do I hate Lance Armstrong. I hate that he’s famous for riding a bicycle. I hate that, despite being better at riding a bicycle than anyone else, he doped his balls off (literally) to win in grand fashion. I hate that he lied about it. More than anything, I hate the pseudo-charitable “foundation” he started (but is no longer associated with), Livestrong. Their website,, is lousy with pointless, link-bait bullshit. Today, they’re bringing you a piece of crack journalism in which they dig up some real dirt on Taco Bell.

Taco Bell doesn’t just head south of the border – it crosses all the way over into dangerous high-fat, high-sodium territory with some of the items on its current menu. You would think that for a four-item meal, the ingredient list would be pretty simple, but that doesn’t seem to be true for this crunchy beef taco.

Uh-oh. This can’t be good. You mean to say fast food tacos might not be health food? Has anyone alerted president Obama? Good thing they have “detective” Dr. Gayl Canfield on the case to tell us about what’s in these “tacos de muerte”.

BEEF: Ground beef should technically be just one ingredient, but this brown mixture is made up of more than 20 ingredients. The beef seasoning alone contains oat product isolated, salt, pepper, chili, onion powder, tomato powder, oats, soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin, soybean oil, garlic powder, yeast extract autolyzed, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder processed with alkali, silicon dioxide, natural flavors, yeast, corn starch modified, and natural smoke flavor.

Yes, ground beef should just be one ingredient. But this is seasoned ground beef, you twat. I swear, the gall of a food purveyor, putting seasonings in things that claim to be seasoned. Lock them up and throw away the key.

CHEESE: The “real” in “real cheddar cheese” might as well stand for “really processed.” According to, the cheese in this taco is made of milk pasteurized cultures, salt, enzymes, annatto color and anti-caking agents.

So, it’s the same as the shredded cheese I buy at the grocery store? I also like how the “expert” is citing You can’t put it in the internet if it’s not real, right?

SODIUM: This taco contains something of a salt assault. Everything but the lettuce is loaded with salt. While some sodium is essential for your body to function properly, exceeding the limit of 2,300 mg per day — two of these tacos make up more than 25 percent of your daily allowance — may increase your risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke heart attack and other health issues.

Holy shit, I could get 1/4 of my daily sodium allowance by eating 1/3 of my daily meals? Math like that is why I don’t trust BIG TACO. Also, “salt assault”. Ha.

Among the most suspicious items in the group, Canfield notes, is the yeast extracts and natural smoke flavor. “The yeast may cause a similar reaction to MSG sensitivities,” she explains. “There’s also been some speculation that the natural smoke flavor made from beech wood may be toxic in humans, but much more research and evidence is needed before we can rule it a problem.”

This is what really pissed me off about this article, and this site in general. In order to present the article as something shocking or ground-breaking to get clicks, they paid an “expert” to use weasel words like “speculation” and “may”. So, natural smoke flavor “may” kill you. So “might” getting hit by a bus. If you want to tell me about potentially harmful additives, fine. But the headline “What’s Really Inside That Taco Bell Crunchy Beef Taco?” makes it sound like it’s going to be an expose on horse meat or something. It’s misleading, it’s link-baiting, and it’s irresponsible. On the sidebar, I see an article called “How To Lose Leg Fat In Thirty Days”, as though there’s some magic bullet for losing leg fat as opposed to other fat.

This just in, fast food might not be as wholesome and honest as you thought – kind of like Lance Armstrong.


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