Who would have guessed?

Photo: Getty Images/Elijah Nouvelage
| Credit: Getty Images/Elijah Nouvelage

It may be the fast food chain associated with mystery beef ingredients and cheese dust-infused everything, but Taco Bell has launched a quieter campaign to be the healthier alternative to its fried chicken and burger competition.

According to Foodbeast, credit for waist-friendly menu additions can be attributed to Taco Bell's resident dietician and product developer, Missy Nelson. (We'd love to know the application process for this gig.)

Since joining the team, Nelson has spearheaded the movement to remove all artificial ingredients, switch to cage-free eggs and reduce sodium by 15 percent across all food offerings. In addition, she helped to introduce low-calorie "Fresco" and high-protein "Cantina" options, as well as a robust vegetarian selection.

One possible reason Taco Bell has managed to integrate these changes so effectively may be their lack of publicity. Their commitment to over-the-top flavor mash-ups (think Cheeto-stuffed burritos) has obviously dominated the company's branding messages, while catering to a health-focused clientele happened organically without all of the bells, whistles and millions in advertising dollars.

Now that the fit and trim cat chihuahua is officially out of the bag, could Taco Bell be the new Subway? Maybe. Only time and tacos will tell.

This Story Originally Appeared On foodandwine.com