The Skinny on Drive-Thru Diets

A quick trip through the drive-through is one of the big reasons, some say, why so many Americans are overweight or obese.

But people like Subway's Jared Fogle and Taco Bell's Christine Dougherty are the fast food chains' way of minimizing the notion that their menus are entirely unhealthy.

Dieticians say that while there's fast food, there's no fast diet.  And the marketing falsely suggests, they say, that there's a quick and easy way to lose weight.

"It's not a weight-loss program. The idea here is to offer healthy options," said Christ Medical Center dietitian Janel Hayden.

Hayden said she's all for lower calorie menu items, but adds that if someone isn't exercising and eating a balanced diet, the pounds will likely come back.

Still, the lighter-fare options are such a potentially lucrative part of the fast food business that Taco Bell recently partnered with a Chicago radio announcer to prove the benefits of the drive-through diet.

"I've gained and lost 1,000 in my lifetime," said ESPN 1000's John Jurkovic, adding that the two Taco Bell restaurants near his home offer a quick meal about once every two days.

For the last several weeks, Jurkovic has been choosing items from the chain's "Fresco" menu and can enjoy a beef taco with only 150 calories. It comes without sour cream and guacamole and has less fat than the beef taco on the regular menu.

"You put sour cream and guac on this thing, you've got another 3-400 calories. That's death," Jurkovic said.

He said he's lost 12 of the 304 pounds he was carrying just a short time ago.  And though his diet is a radio promotion for the restaurant, he said that every bit of motivation helps.

He said his ultimate goal is to get down to 250 pounds. offers a guide for healthy eating at fast food restaurants.  Among the tips:

- Look for items with fresh vegetables and grilled toppings.  They're almost always lower in fat and calories.
- Leave off the mayo and other high-cal condiments.
- Eat slowly to allow yourself the time it takes to feel full.
- Remember the big picture.  If you slip up, compensate on your next meal.

Taco Bell: Drive-Thru Diet Menu

Subway: Jared's Favorites

McDonald's: Nutrition Information

Burger King: Your Meal Your Way

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