Looking at Subway's nutritional information to keep you from looking like the Jared's "before" pictures.
We are all familiar with Jared Fogle’s story: he lost 245 pounds by eating nothing but Subway, every day for a year. Does this mean that adhering to a diet of Italian BMTs and Subway Clubs is going to help us lose weight? Will the Subway diet help you burn fat?! Not exactly. Let’s take a look at the fine print.
Jared lost the weight by eating one six-inch turkey, one footlong veggie, and one bag of baked potato chips every day. He skips the mayo, condiments, oil, and cheese, and claims to have filled up on coffee and diet soda (yuck!). This puts Jared’s nutritional intake at around 870 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 1910 mg of sodium, which is not only unlivable, but also conveniently representative of Subway’s nutritional profile in general. They market the 6 grams of fat for a reason, and it’s to cover up the fact that their menu items are loaded with sodium and often sneakily high in calories. So how do we avoid Subway becoming Mcdonald's?
1. Choose your bread wisely: When we talk about bread, there is one nutritional component we want to look at to ensure we’re getting the most bang for our buck. Fiber. It’s found in whole grains and helps to keep your gut in shape, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and decrease blood glucose levels. Basically, fiber is amazing and most of us aren’t getting enough (25-35g/day is recommended).
Only two of Subway’s breads contain any whole grains at all. The rest are pretty much processed, enriched white breads (read: no nutritional content whatsoever). So, especially if you’re going for that five dollar footlong, choose one of the following:
12” 9-grain wheat bread: 8 grams fiber
12” Honey oat bread: 10 grams fiber
2. Know what’s in your meat: Basically, the meat you’re eating at Subway isn’t exactly what you think it is. There are three meats in the Italian BMT (Salami, Pepperoni, and Ham), yet the ingredient list is six lines and over 30 ingredients long (shouldn’t the only ingredient in meat be…meat?) Many of the cold cuts are processed, and contain nitrates (the stuff in hot dogs), which studies have associated with oxygen deficiency in infants and cancer in adults. Subway’s deli meats also boast a ridiculous amount of chemical preservatives and flavorings, which account for absurdly high levels of sodium that can easily exceed your entire daily allowance. For the least amount of sodium and artificial additives, try the following.
Oven roasted chicken, turkey, roast beef, veggie
Ham, Subway Club, Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, tuna, seafood salad
And as a good rule of thumb, only one meat per sandwich please!
3. Don’t discount the condiments: Subway’s sandwiches under 6 grams of fat don’t include cheese or additional condiments. Some of these tasty extras will pile unnecessary fat and calories onto your meal… often at around 50 calories a pop. How to choose wisely?
Vinegar, mustard, fat-free honey mustard
Bacon, cheese, olive oil, light mayo
Ranch, Chipotle Southwest sauce, full fat mayo
And watch the portions. One serving of olive oil blend (45 calories) is one teaspoon. The typical Subway barista squirts on at least three times that. Try asking for just a drizzle, or take it on the side.
4. Avoid toasted subs: I’m sorry, I know the crispy bread and melted cheeses are enticing, but let’s get real. All of these subs contain between 990-2610mg of sodium, 360-580 calories, and most have greater than 20 grams of fat … in a 6” sandwich. So most of you are probably consuming twice that. Just to put this in perspective:
12” Subway Feast Sandwich: 1100 calories, 46 grams of fat, 5,220mg sodium (more than twice your daily value!)
McDonald’s Cheeseburger: 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 750mg sodium
You could eat four cheeseburgers and actually come out on top… scary.
So after all of this, what does your ideal meal look like?
Look, maintaining a healthy diet isn't easy, and saying no to some Subway sandwiches can be tough too, but the rules above will ensure your diet doesn't get derailed! And if all else fails, Subway’s salads are 100% foolproof, so go nuts!