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Taco Bell Trying to Create Healthy Image: Are You Buying It?

We know, you and your food-snob friends turn up your noses at fast-food chains. McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell -- "Ugh, gross."

"I don't eat that fake junk," you say in public, while secretly passing through a drive-thru while wasted on your way home from the bar.

Well, closet junkfood fans, one of the worst offenders is trying to clean up its image. Taco Bell, purveyor of the "fourth meal," is attempting to go healthy. Somewhat.

Details after the jump.

See also:

- Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Are Available: We Try Them

-An Open Letter to Taco Bell

Last week the chain announced it would offer "more balanced choices" for its client base of drunks and late-night stoners.

CEO Greg Creed said the chain is testing products this year with planned launches for 2014.

The company is planning for 20 percent of its meals to meet federal nutritional guidelines by 2020, meaning a meal would have about a third of the 2,000 to 2,500 recommended calories and fat for a day. That means 80 percent of the menu will remain exactly the same. Impressive.

Why is the promoter of the "fourth meal" and creator of the highly successful Doritos Loco trying to switch paths?

It's good business.

A report released by the Hudson Institute earlier this year tracked restaurant servings and traffic data from 21 national chains to see if offering lower-calorie options affected growth. The study concluded, "Chains growing lower-calorie food servings saw increases in overall food servings, while other chains recorded declines."

Does this mean Taco Bell will give up its 88 percent beef filling in exchange for all real meat?

Probably not. But when you're hammered enough to eat that stuff, we doubt you're too concerned anyway.

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Sara Ventiera

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