Fast Food Nation: Subway


We’ve all heard the warnings about eating unhealthy fast food – deep-fried, sugared and processed foods can’t be good for you. But what about popular food chains that purport to be healthy? Do ‘fast food’ and ‘healthy’ go together?

Most of you will probably relate to this chain of sandwich makers with keywords like ‘healthy’, ‘low-fat’, and ‘fresh’. Thing is, in a city state like Singapore, where do you find fresh food? And if they are fresh, why are they so… dry? As for the greens, it’s pretty obvious that they’re all pre-cut before they reach the outlets. Ok, lines move much faster if they’re prepared in advance.

The idea of Subway is that it’s ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’, however, if you read the ingredients from their processed sauces, you’ll realise that it’s pretty standard in terms of sauces. And the meats? Well, they’re the same that you can find at any deli – complete with the sodium count.

In a 2013 study conducted by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, they found that Subway sandwiches contained an average of 784 calories, versus 572 at McDonald’s. The sodium content at both restaurants was three times higher than the IOM recommended daily dose: 2,149 mg at Subway versus 1,829 mg at McDonald’s.

But lest we get an angry letter, check out the video (and complain to them):

Because diners assume they’re eating healthier overall – a phenomenon known as the “health halo” – they may not pay close enough attention to the nutritional content of what they’re ordering. It is a healthier option to deep-fried stuff, for sure. Just avoid ordering the meat and cheese and the white bread.

At the end of the day, Subway is still fast food.