What's Really In Taco Bell's Ground Beef?

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TacoBell_slidePhoto: John Chapple/REX USA.
Whether it's greasy pepperoni pizza or a cheeseburger and fries, we all have our junky favorites. Of course, we know we're not being kind to our bodies (or digestive systems) when we indulge in these chemical-laden treats, even if we're not sure just what nastiness is hiding within. Taco Bell fans can now get schooled on every last ingredient in their meaty guilty pleasures — and it's a long, long list.

According to the restaurant's website, Taco Bell's ground beef is composed of "88% premium beef and 12% signature recipe." That "signature recipe" seems to be part spices, part binders and texturizers (like oats and soy lecithin), and part artificial flavors and colors.

Taco Bell is quick to point out that most of these ingredients are common in foods found on supermarket shelves. But, that's not to say they're free of controversy. That savory-looking brown tint, for example? It comes from the use of caramel color, a synthetic, food-coloring agent that, when consumed in large quantities, might cause cancer. Sodium phosphates, which Taco Bell uses "to help make sure [its] seasoned beef is the right texture," are commonly used in diuretics, and the FDA has warned that large amounts can cause extreme dehydration.

Curious what comes inside your Gordita? Click through to see the company's full list of ingredients — bonus points if you can pronounce them all. (Good Morning America)