July 11, 2014 at 11:28 AM ET
Bro, do you even protein?
Taco Bell is beefing up to tap into the protein diet and fitness trend, announcing a test overhaul of its cuisine that will double the chicken and steak portions in its burritos and bowls. The "Power Protein" menu will debut in about 40 locations in Dayton, Ohio, for a five-to-six week period starting July 25. After that... America, gird your stomachs.
The announcement comes when protein is dominating as the new food nutrient craze of choice. It's beloved by bodybuilders and fitness freaks for its supposed ability to squelch calorie cravings and max out their muscles. They, and those aspiring to be like them, are looking to get it in their regular meals, beyond the traditional tubs of powder mixed into drinks and shakes. Protein bars spill out over supermarket checkout stands and cereals tout their protein content in yellow starbursts. Protein-heavy dishes also feature prominently in the so-called "Paleolithic," or "Paleo," diet fad, which touts eating whole, unprocessed foods like a caveman might have encountered.
This is despite the lack of scientific evidence that consuming more than the recommended daily allowance of protein contributes significantly to muscle gain, performance, or weight loss.
None of that matters to Taco Bell's core audience: 18-34-year-old males. This Taco Bell commercial from 2013 gives an insight into the new meat-packed strategy: