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Is Subway a Healthy Choice?

is subways healthy


For years Subway has positioned itself as the healthiest choice for fast food. Their commercials feature fresh veggies sprinkled with droplets of water and juicy-fresh meats. It certainly is convincing. Outside of the fitness community their marketing strategy has been effective, but now their product quality is being called into question so it's a prime opportunity to discuss why subway is not a healthy choice for fast food.

Their chicken is barely chicken...

There has been a long held opinion within the fitness community that Subway wasn't a great choice for weight loss. Still, Subway seemingly had some redeeming qualities. For example, you could run in quickly and order a sandwich loaded with veggies and chicken while avoiding high-fat condiments like mayonnaise. Essentially, if you're educated enough nutritionally, you could finagle a health conscious meal that was much better than a greasy burger. That was one train of thought at least.

However, fast forward to this year and news broke that Subway's chicken only contains about 50% chicken DNA. My initial thought reading the report was "EXCUSE ME?!" I never expected their food to be fresh, as their brand states, but in my naivete, I also never expected for their chicken to only be 50% chicken. Their chicken is basically like that realistic looking costume jewelry that breaks your skin out.

Trent University's Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory tested the chicken from a handful of fast food chains and found that while none of them sold 100% chicken products, Subway's chicken strips contained an egregiously low 42.8% of chicken DNA. Moreover, this isn't even the first time Subway's "chicken" has been scrutinized. Just two years ago, Friends of the Earth, an environmental group, made headlines by awarding Subway an F for using antibiotics in their meat. Subway then went into damage control by removing the affected chicken from all locations by the end of 2016.

Subway Canada's response to the study was predictable. They questioned the results of the research and only admitted to using soy as a stabilizer. Admittedly, I'm not sure what that means. However, the faux chicken might be an even tougher mess to clean up for Subway compared to their past stumbles so only time will tell what the response will be from their consumers.

Heavy on the carbs and sodium, but light on the protein....

Beyond the questionable meat products, which is convincing enough that Subway isn't a healthy choice, the amount of carbs and sodium in each sandwich is problematic to a fit diet. Many of the footlong sandwiches contain over 100g of carbs, largely from the bread itself. Further, to preserve their fresh meats they use a substantial amount of sodium. Needless to say the combination of high carbs and high sodium amount to a gnarly case of water retention and high blood pressure. Also, the relatively low protein content vs. carbs means that you won't feel full for long after eating the sandwich. The lack of satiation is yet another reason why Subway isn't your best alternative. The less satiated you feel the more likely you are to overeat.

It's not too late for Subway to change its ways. Public outcry from this latest fallout could spark an overhaul of their menu. However, at the moment other fast food options can serve as a better alternative for a healthy meal on the fly.

[Subway DNA Study Report]