Is choosing Subway a healthy option?

 If you think Subway is a healthy alternative to fast food, you might want to think again. Subway brands its sandwiches as an option to make better dietary choices. From the years 2000-2015, Subway spokesperson Jared Scott Fogle attributed his 245-pound weight loss to a diet solely consisting of Subway sandwiches. While that story may be true, the Ireland Supreme Court has recently ruled that the bread served at Subway cannot legally be categorized as bread because of its high sugar content. One of Ireland’s tax bills states that the sugar content in bread “shall not exceed 2% of the weight of flour included in the dough”. The bread served at Subway, however, has a 10% sugar content, which exceeds the bill recommendation by five times! Due to this high sugar amount, Ireland’s Supreme Court said that the bread at Subway is more like cake than bread!


While Ireland’s Supreme Court has come to this conclusion, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the amount of sugar in bread; only requiring that companies state the amount of added sugars on their nutrition labels. Even though the United States has more lenient standards on nutrition, we must take into consideration Ireland’s categorization of Subway bread for our own health benefits. This is especially important when considering the high prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes, in the US as compared to nations like Ireland.


Although the sugar content in Subway bread isn’t unusual and similar amounts can be found in bread that you can buy at the grocery store, there are breads that contain little to no added sugars. This tells us that while Subway is marketing their food as a healthy fast food option, it might not be the best option for those individuals who are at risk for or who have prediabetes or diabetes.


Ireland’s recent findings should make everyone aware that “healthy” doesn’t just mean low in calories. When considering how healthy something is for you, it’s important to pay attention to what is contained inside of the food product; including the carbohydrate content, the amount of added sugars, the sodium content, and any processed ingredients. So, the next time you are in the mood for a sandwich and are craving Subway, be aware of the potential impacts it can have on your blood glucose and consider alternative choices.