Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When "Healthy" Food Really Isn't.


Ok, so you've learnt how to avoid so called "fatty" and "sugary" foods and try to eat as much healthy food as possible. Mc Donalds and KFC are excluded from your choice of restaurants. So you decide to join the hippies and eat the allegedly "healthy" sandwichies at Subway.

Subway promotes itself of having a very healthy menu. At first glance, their sandwiches do really seem promising. The roast beef sandwich has only 600 calories (a daily requirement is roughly 2000calories) and fills a person up quite well. It also has about 35g of protein, or half of an adult's daily protein requirement.

But what happens when you add dressing to the sandwich? Most people add cheese, a free option, as well.

I was working at a community health center and having a subway sandwich for lunch in the staff room. Ok, on campus it would have probably been considered a healthy meal, but amongst allied health workers, it wasnt. Around me people were people who brought along their home cooked meals. Lean fillets with steamed vegetables, Moroccan couscous, bread cheese vegimite and avocadoes, sandwiches and fruit.

I've always felt very lethargic after eating the allegedly "healthy" subway foot long sandwiches, but having lunch amongst people who included dietitians prompted me to scrutinize the "healthy" nutrional breakdown on my subway tissue.


The roast beef sandwich has 900mg salt for 290 calories! On top of that, they will sprinkle salt and pepper on all sandwiches unless you specifically ask them not to. Then when everything is ready, they will ask you if you want any kind of dressing. Almost everyone will choose to top their sandwich with dressings. All of their dressings contain high amounts of salt as well.

The recommended daily intake for salt is between 1000 and 2000 mg. A person eating 2200 calories worth of subway sandwiches would be consuming at least 7000mg of salt - assuming that he chose not to add cheese (high in salt), or dressings, or shaken salt. I wouldnt be surprised if the figure approached 8,000 mg of salt in a real world scenario.

A Big Mac actually ends up being healthier than a subway sandwich! 2200 calories of Big Macs would only contain 1150mg of salt! Sure, it does contain more fats, but what few people realize is that it only contains about 10g of saturated fat. Hence, 2200 calories in the form of Big Macs would provide only two times the recommended daily intake of saturated fat.


2200 calories worth of Big Mac:
  • 1150mg salt (RDI 1000-2000) OK.
  • 40g saturated fat (RDI <20g)>

2200 calories worth of Subway Roast Beef sandwich:
  • 8000mg salt (RDI 1000-2000) EIGHT TIMES the recommended daily intake.
  • 15.2g saturated fat (RDI <20g)>


  1. Why eat so healthy when you can't enjoy the fun of life? ;)

    Eat healthy to stay alive long enough to eat unhealthy.

  2. I always ask my subways on a wrap!
    I dunno how much that actually helps though...