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USA Today reports this morning that the Center for Science in the Public interest (CSPI) has issued a report criticizing "Fresh Mex"-style restaurant chains for nutritional shortcomings in many of their offerings.

At Chipotle, for example, CSPI says that the chicken burrito has roughly 1,000 calories, a day's worth of sodium (2,500 mg) and half a day's saturated fat (12 grams). At Baja Fresh, the nachos have 2,000 calories, 40 grams of saturated fat and 2,900 mg of sodium. And the typical cheese quesadillas served at these chains contain between 850 and 1,150 calories, 25 to 35 grams of saturated fat and 1,400 to 2,200 mg of sodium.

Ironically, Taco Bell has just announced that it will begin selling lower-calorie versions of its Mexican fast food, called "Fresco Style," that will substitute a fat-free salsa of chopped tomatoes, onion and cilantro for the cheese and sour cream-based sauce on most menu items.

According to the company, this substitution can lower the fat content of its food by up to 70 percent and reduce the calories by as much as 40 percent.

CSPI makes the same point in its report - that if you eliminate the sour cream and cheese from most dishes and replace it with salsa, you can have a significant impact on the meal's nutritional content.
KC's View:
In reading about the burgeoning low-carb category, we noted that the Don Pablo's restaurant chain is bringing out a low-carb fajita, with chicken wrapped in lettuce rather than a tortilla. Combined with the Taco Bell effort, there seems to be some movement in the right direction from these chai