Posted on: April 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm
Last updated: August 17, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Taco Bell has released the list of ingredients that made up the previously unknown “12%” of their signature beef. The fast-food company made headlines in 2011 when a lawsuit was filed against them claiming that the meat that they served was only 35% beef.


Taco Bell responded to these accusations by stating that the meat they serve is actually 88% beef, with the remaining 12% being a “secret recipe.” Although the lawsuit was dropped, this led to further media attention, and even more public pressure to find out exactly what makes up that 12%.

Taco Bell released the list of ingredients in a statement on their website (which has currently been removed). It revealed that more than half of all of their previously “secret” ingredients are linked to a variety of side effects and health conditions.


13 “Secret” Ingredients


1. Oats

Used to season beef.

2. Soy Lecithin

Used to retain moisture. Soy products, in general, have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women. Soy lecithin has also been reported to cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain.

3. Citric Acid

Used for additional flavoring. It has been linked to kidney damage and heart disease. Side effects upon consumption include numbness, muscle pain, twitches, bloody stool, seizures, and dizziness.


4. Cellulose

Commonly used to help maintain shape and form and used as a filler in food products. It passes through the gastrointestinal tract without being absorbed and can sometimes cause digestive problems such as gas and bloat.

5. Torula Yeast

A form of yeast used to add flavor. I have been linked to a variety of adverse reactions including headaches, chest pain, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. Can also cause allergic reactions resulting in hives, rashes, congestion, swelling of the face and difficulty breathing or swallowing.

6. Modified Corn Starch

Used as a thickener and helps retain moisture of meat. Is a genetically modified food product.

7. Artificial Flavor

Used to enhance taste. Has been linked to hyperactive behavior in children.

8. Sodium Phosphates

Used to preserve the texture of beef. Can cause serious damage to the kidneys and heart. Side effects of consumption include abdominal cramps, nausea, dehydration and diarrhea.

9. Lactic Acid

Used to increase acidic flavor. Not harmful for adults, but can cause digestive problems if consumed by children.

10. Caramel Color

Used for coloring. Contains the chemical 4-methylimidazole which has been determined to be a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

11. Trehalose

A sweetener used to improve taste of beef.

12. Potassium Chloride

Used as a substitute for salt. Has been shown to cause nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and heartburn. It has also been reported to cause bleeding of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

13. Maltodextrin

Used as a sweetener. Promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and increases risk of developing inflammatory diseases. Side effects of consumption include allergic reaction, unexplained weight gain, bloating and flatulence.

The Hearty Soul
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