Recently I was vegging out with my favorite guilty pleasure – reality television. As I was enjoying indulging in the one kind of junk I don’t have to save calories for, I noticed a commercial that snapped me out of my reality-tv induced stupor and back to real-reality.

What started as a run-of-the-mill fast food ad quickly revealed itself to be something else. While Taco Bell’s television spots ordinarily revolve around college aged young men and late-night munchers, the protagonist of this particular commercial set it apart right off the bat. Instead of school-colors clad, drive-thru hopping “dude”, the main character was a svelte woman in her late twenties/early thirties, beaming from ear to ear. I was intrigued – 89 cents is a good deal, but who looks gleeful over fast-food tacos?

Turns out, the svelte woman was “Christine”, Taco Bell’s new authority on weight loss. The restaurant has always offered a “Fresco” menu – tacos and burritos with fresh salsa in place of cheeses and creamy sauces – but now they are actually touting this menu as a viable dietary lifestyle option.

Of course it’s impossible to see something like this and not immediately think of good ol’ Jared and Subway. Taco Bell’s “Drive Thru Diet” is no doubt inspired by Subway’s success story and the similarities are super apparent. But so are the differences.

For all intents and purposes, Subway is a sandwich shop with a plethora of choices. With soups, lean turkey and veggies that are surprisingly fresh and crisp, there’s tons of ways to change up your options on the day to day. It’s totally likely that someone would want to eat there morning, noon or night.

As for Taco Bell, as crave-worthy as it might be, who can really eat this kind of south-of-the-border treat every single day, let alone for every meal. It’s true—you can guac-til-you-drop. Taking a look at the Fresco menu, the calorie content is pretty awesome with everything under 340 calories, but when you look at the sodium… that’s when things get scary. A Fresco Burrito Chicken Supreme, the sodium content clocks in at 1,400 mgs, which is more than half what your daily intake should be (2,300 mgs). But ultimately, what’s bound to happen is the fiesta will come to an end and then what?

Any of these menu options are a great “back pocket” thing to know that if you are out and about you don’t have to fear fast food. Know your options, and only hit the drive-thru sometimes. Christine’s diet may work for that chica, but it seems a bit too loco to really be a viable option for everyone.

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