Subway Sandwiches: What’s Really Inside


Fake food? In my Subway sandwich? It’s more likely than you think.

Maybe you’re not surprised by that opening line, considering Subway is a fast food chain, after all. And fast food isn’t exactly known for using the freshest, healthiest ingredients on the market. Or even anything resembling real ingredients. Which brings us to today’s topic: What’s really in your average Subway sandwich?

The buzz around Subway started when almost two weeks ago, on September 29, a court in Ireland ruled that Subway’s bread is not, in fact, real bread. And not just any court; the Supreme Court of Ireland themselves.

The Court’s decision was made based on the high sugar content of the bread. According to Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972, for a dough product to be considered bread, its sugar content “shall not exceed 2% of the weight of flour included in the dough”. So when it was determined that Subway’s “bread” contained 10%-five times-of that weight, the case was made that the product could not be classified as real bread; rather a pastry or confectionary item.

This isn’t the first time Subway’s had an issue with following their slogan “Eat Fresh”. Before 2014, their US chain used an ingredient in their bread called azodicarbonamide-a chemical commonly used in foamed plastics. It is banned as a food additive in the UK, EU, Australia, and in Singapore, if you’re caught with it you can receive up to 15 years in prison or be fined $450,000. However, the US Food and Drug Administration still allows the use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive, flour bleaching agent, and dough conditioner. But thanks to a petition with over 50,000 signatures, on February 5, 2014, Subway announced they would be removing the chemical from their bread.

So Subway isn’t as “eat fresh” as they’d make you think. Even Vani Hari, the food blogger who started the azodicarbonamide-removal petition, was fooled at one point into believing their motto was true. The promotion and marketing of “low calories and weight loss” in Subway’s sandwiches made her blind to their real nutritional value. “I really had the illusion of healthy eating,” she says. “When I saw what was actually in the bread, I was horrified.”

We should always try our best to be aware of what’s in the food we eat and how much of it we’re consuming. Questioning the process of our favorite products is something we (as consumers) need to do more often. Even if Subway isn’t the worst of fast food chains (compared to McDonald’s, Subway may as well be an all-natural, organic salad bar) it’s important in general to cut back on your fast food intake, and seek out healthier versions of the food you like whenever possible.

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