I received a pamphlet from Subway in the mail the other day (this post isn’t sponsored, although I wish it was). You know, the one with a bunch of coupons that you can use at Subway, which in itself isn’t very interesting (to me, at least. I’m not one who eats out often). What was interesting, however, were the health allegations in the pamphlet regarding certain Subway food items. There weren’t even just a couple, but a decent amount of these allegations. Let’s discuss them, shall we:
1- On National Sandwich Day (november 3rd), Subway donated the monetary equivalent of one meal to Food Banks Canada (Banques alimentaires Canada) to help those in need. Turns out they donated over 500 000 meals this year. Food Banks Canada actually released an interesting research article entitled Hunger Count 2016 regarding food banks and how many people they helped in Canada and how their results compare to previous years. According to them, food banks are more helpful than ever. It’s very accessible to many, and nicely presented. I’d strongly recommend you take a look.
“In March of 2016, 863 492 received food from a food bank in Canada. This is 1.3% higher than the same period in 2015, and 28% higher than in 2008”
– Food Banks Canada (2016). Hunger Count 2016.
2- 100% of sandwich packaging and napkins are compostable, and 95% of the salad bowl covers are made of recycled materials. That’s a big step for the environment from this company, considering how much waste from fast food restaurants are added to landfills every single day. I’ve actually worked at a coffee shop that doubles up as a fast food place. Take it from me, the amount of waste per day for such a small coffee shop is overwhelming. Admirable, Subway.
3- 100% of the turkey, steak, rosbif and ham they serve come from Canadian farmers. This encourages local, independent, small entreprises and farmers, as well as the Canadian economy, instead of having to import their meat. Imported products are more prone to contamination because of the way they have to travel which is not always ideal or sterile. Generally, the closer your food comes from, the safer it is (not always, but generally). Also, just think of the pollution that comes from plane/truck fuel that you can avoid by buying local!
It’d be great to also to see the same initiative for some of the other meats they have, as well as the vegetables.
4- During their respective high seasons, green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions served in the restaurants also come from Canadian farms, including those in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario. The benefits of buying local are the same as mentioned previously, although it is not always easy to buy vegetables (and fruits for that matter) locally all year long, especially in snowy countries like Canada. Each fruit/vegetable has its optimal cultivation season, for which reason sometimes importing is seen as a solution. Besides, it’s very hard to cultivate when there’s snow covering everything. Also, not all fruits and vegetables are available in every country, for which case importing is also the solution.
I’d recommend you simply enjoy each fruit for its season when possible. You’d be surprised at some of the fruits that are available that you might not have even noticed.
5- For optimal freshness, the vegetables mentioned earlier (tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and green peppers) are all sliced every morning at their respective restaurants. Some of you might be thinking, what’s the difference between cutting fresh and conserving pre-cut vegetables in the fridge or freezer. Oxydation, my friends!
In fact, one of the ways to keep the nutritional value of fruits and veggies intact is by limiting their exposure to oxygen and light before consumption. Although minerals are indestructible, the vitamins that those foods contain can be altered by exposure to oxygen and light, strongly limiting their benefits after consumption. Also, sometimes color and flavour of vegetables can be altered by oxydation, which limits their desirability. It is therefore recommended that fruits and vegetables be altered right before consumption to preserve maximum benefits.
6- Their menu contains 0 high fructose corn syrup or “artificial” trans fats. In fact, almost all trans fats are industrially made, by trying to turn liquid oils into solid oils (saturated fats) to change their consistency, therefore making them spreadable. However, these trans fats are associated to heart disease. In 2015, the FDA decided to try and remove trans fats completely from processed foods within 3 years, although the topic still strikes up a lot of controversy.
Few trans fats are naturally found in some meat and dairy products (among which are muscle and milk), particularly those from ruminants. The majority, however, is produced by the food industry.
7- 28 of the ingredients (including soups, bread, turkey, steak, rosbif and chicken) in the menu are exempt of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Natural preservatives do exist however, among which lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and even sugar. Most of these types of preservatives don’t harm human health, because they are also found in some recipes. But, be aware of sugar and salt. They are usually present in large quantities in pre-packaged foods.
8- According to the Whole Grains Council, the bread at Subway Restaurants provide 50% of your requirement of whole grains. This includes all the nutrients that whole grains provide, including fibre, antioxydants, B vitamins, some protein, and some healthy fats. It is not 100% whole grain, and therefore earn the Basic whole grain stamp, because each portion (about a 6 inch italian, 9 grains or oat and honey bread) contains 24 g of whole grains. The Basic stamp is the one that doesn’t have the “100%” indication (on the right). This means it has at least 8g of whole grains, but also contains some refined grains, bran, germ or refined flour. This is still a healthier alternative to bread that contains only refined grains, such as white bread.
9- Their Italian bread is vegan!
Whew! That was quite a bit of new information! Hope you learned something new about your food options when it comes to fast food, and hats off to Subway for taking health and environmental initiatives. Although, I personally would still recommend a home cooked meal over fast-food (as any nutritionist would). That way I know exactly what I’m putting in my body. Nevertheless, good to know right?
Have a lovely day, y’all!