Pizza Hut goes au naturel with healthy ingredients

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Following the trend of fast food restaurants trying to be less like fast food, Pizza Hut is now going for more natural ingredients. Makes you wonder what they were using before! Pepperoni and other sausages now won't contain any artificial preservatives and colors and will be free of nitrates and nitrites, says the chain. Sauces will be sans high-fructose corn syrup and mozzarella will be all-natural. The company promises the switch to using premium ingredients won't come with a heftier price for customers. So you can indulge both pocketbook and appetite.

Fast Food Goes Healthy

    Pizza Hut says it is swapping out its chemically enhanced ingredients and using instead premium, all-natural ingredients.

    Alan Diaz, AP

    Long John Silver's introduced Freshside Grille, a new menu of great-tasting, premium seafood entrees that are lower in calories and fat, including Pacific Salmon (pictured), Shrimp Scampi and Tilapia. www.freshsidegrille.com (Photo: YUM!)

    YUM! / AP

    Burger King, the world's No. 2 hamburger chain, says its trans-fat free in all of its US restaurants. For healthier options on its menu, Burger King offers three salads.

    Evan Agostini, Getty Images

    All of KFC's 5,500 U.S. stores have stopped frying chicken in artery-clogging trans fat, which the fast food chain said would not change how its fried chicken tastes. Last year KFC introduced grilled chicken onto its menu.

    David Silverman, Getty Images

    KFC's sister brand Taco Bell has also switched to a trans fat-free frying oil, and is working to remove trans fat from all of its ingredients.

    Mike Derer, AP

    Trans fat in food increases "bad" cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, and trans fat levels are now required on food labels.

    Scott Olson, Getty Images

    McDonald's began using 0-gram trans fatty acids (TFA) canola blend cooking oil in May 2008 in nearly 14,000 restaurants. The company has a website on food, nutrition, and wellness with videos on how some food items, like Egg McMuffins, are made.

    Chris Hondros, Getty Images

    Joanna Canizares (far left) of Miami, Fla.; Tonia Welling (center) of Bentonville, Ark.; and Monica Fuentes of Anthem, Ariz. tour an orchard with Bill Gerling, general manager of Lake Ontario Fruit, Inc., near Albion, N.Y. to see how apples are grown for McDonald's Apple Dippers and Snack Size Fruit and Walnut Salad. The women are McDonald's Moms Quality Correspondents, six moms selected to explore McDonald's food quality and report what they learn via online journals. (PRNewsFoto/McDonald's)

    McDonald's USA / AP

    Starbucks announced in May that it will cut artificial trans fats out of food and drinks in its stores in the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada by the end of the year. It offers salads and wraps in addition to fat-reduced muffins and cakes.

    Ted S. Warren, AP

    Wendy's already made the move to a new cooking oil that cuts out trans fats from its products.

    Joe Raedle, Getty Images

It's funny how fast food chains desperate to compete with the growing organics movement are taking these big leaps to serve actual food. Of course you can never be sure of what actually goes into fast food, but many chains are trying to make you forget that by offering healthier items.

There's Long John Silver's Freshside Grille menu that's an alternative to fish fry, Dunkin Donuts' selection of flatbread sandwiches (flatbread being low-carb), and McDonalds, well, McDonalds rather go out of its way to convince you that it's good for you. The godfather of fast food hired mothers to blog about the health attributes of eating McDonalds. One of their arguments? That workers preparing your food wear sanitary gloves.

Fast food is fast food no matter which way you cut it. Being a Californian, the only benefit of the doubt I give is to In-and-Out Burger. At these chains, you get to watch them cut potatoes to make french fries, that's how transparent their processes are. That's a lot better than McDonald's, which is only just now switching to packaging that shows pictures of fresh food items like potatoes and lettuce -- what's actually in the kitchen, you'll never know.

But, in the end, it is nice to know that Pizza Hut is trying to keep up with the Joneses, who right now are into eating organic.
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