Battle of Tex-Mex Fast Food: Taco Bell vs. Chipotle

taco-bell-vs-chipotlechipotle-mexican-grillTake a quick look at the menu for Taco Bell and the menu for Chipotle and you’ll see an instant similarity, particularly with their burritos and tacos. However, despite being similar the two are radically different under the hood. To be specific, Taco Bell is significantly a healthier choice. But this doesn’t necessarily mean Taco Bell is an instant gateway to weight loss – it just means it’s the lesser of two evils. Here’s how we know.

The test was to look at several menu items that were similar in size and their list of ingredients. This would ensure that the comparisons were on even ground. However, there was a need to build a similar menu item from Chipotle given how the establishment, like Subway, allows their consumers to build their own meals compared to Taco Bell’s set menu choices.

 

Size and Calorie Comparison

Taco Bell’s Supreme Beef Burrito was compared directly to a burrito from Chipotle hand-crafted using Chipotle’s nutrition calculator. When placed side by side, the burrito from Taco Bell contained 420 calories and weighed in at 8.5 ounces. The one from Chipotle contained a whopping 865 calories and weighed in at 13 ounces.

General Nutrition Comparison

Just looking at their final sizes, it is no surprise that the burrito from Chipotle would contain nearly five times the amount of cholesterol that the Taco Bell burrito had. It also had 36g of fat compared to the Taco Bell burrito’s 16g of fat.

Per-Gram Comparison

When you compare the two on a per-gram basis then things shift a little bit but not by much. Chipotle’s burrito, on a per-gram study, has approximately 50 percent more fat per gram compared to the burrito from Taco Bell. On this comparison rate it also has three times as much cholesterol as the Taco Bell burrito. However, the Chipotle burrito does have a few benefits such as nearly twice as much protein and 50 percent more fiber.

Price

With such a size difference it should come as no surprise that the Taco Bell burrito is significantly cheaper at just $2.99 compared to the one from Chipotle which can hit just over $4 depending on what state you’re from. Keep in mind that they have the same ingredients and are built to be the same, with the only difference being that the Chipotle had to be built from scratch since there is no menu item that is exactly like the one from Taco Bell. If you had to make a choice based solely on your budget then Taco Bell would be your best option.

Comparing both burritos on all 4 levels, it’s easy to see that the Taco Bell burrito is significantly the better option. It’s more affordable, it is slightly healthier compared to what Chipotle has to offer and you’re generally getting the same burrito no matter which fast food chain you pick.

This is just a simple comparison between their burritos and it is important to keep in mind that they both offer tacos and salads. However, Taco Bell does use more artificial ingredients so that may be a deciding factor for you as well. Do a similar comparison if you ever feel the struggle between other similar fast-food chains like Burger King and McDonald’s in order to truly determine which one is really worth spending your money on.

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2 Comments

  1. Ridiculous comparison when taco bell just gives you less food and a higher % of cheap goop and white flour tortilla. It’s sludge compared to Chipolte’s, like what you wipe off the bottom of your shoe after your dog ate taco bell and crapped it onto your lawn.

    The extra fat is a concern, but this is why you think about what you are ordering, knowing what has saturated fat in it, and altering your diet so an occasional indulgence fits into that diet. Now how about the sodium to protein ratio?

    Further, you’re an idiot for writing “a whopping 865 calories”. The average, healthy adult male needs more calories than this for at least two of their 3 primary meals a day. Anything less means you’re under your caloric needs so you have to buy TWO burritos from taco bell, unless you want to be extra unhealthy and get an empty calorie sugary drink and desert item to make up the difference.

    Ugh, no. Just don’t order the beef or sour cream or cheese if you’re on a saturated fat restricted diet. It seems like you went out of your way to post a false perception of the truth.

  2. This article is absurd. First of all, you’re comparing a burrito from Taco Bell to a burrito from Chipotle which is significantly larger, 8.5oz versus 13 oz. These numbers don’t come close to comparing when it comes to nutrition.

    Secondly, the only two nutrients you measure in your “General Nutrition” are fat and cholesterol. With seemingly no understanding of nutrition or metabolism, you demonize the fat content of the food as an obstacle to weight loss. This is a problem because consumption of total calories is far more relevant to weight management, and fat is an essential macronutrient, required for healthy liver processes among other things.

    This article suggests Taco Bell is the “better option” with such a poorly established guideline of quality that the author is approaching intellectual dishonesty. It honestly makes me question whether or not Taco Bell sponsored this writing.

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