Monday, September 12, 2011

Reviewing Subway's healthy? Subs

There shall be two days in every week, when the wise shall be fooled, when thousands would walk into Subway chains across India to gain weight and my sympathy.

Just earlier in the day, I was trying hard to not focus at work, hence taking up the task of learning if Subway was really healthy - or the healthiest fast food chain - as claimed by several people. I could argue that Subway doesn't even qualify as a fast-food chain considering the 10-minute wait if 4 hungry customers decide to land at the same time. But leaving that fact aside, we turn back to the original discussion, to which I answer: Well, yes. I could bring more juice into it by saying "well, both yes, and no", but I'd rather respect the average intellect here that can judge when they're turning their regular sub into a fat-laden anti-Sub with the extra meat, and extra cheese, and their request for more sauce "mayo thoda zyada kar dena, aur woh ranch wala bhi". But I do have a reservation against Subway's offering to the vegetarians that, surprisingly, fares worse on the health chart than what the meat-lovers get. Veg always used to trump Non-Veg, then how come?

Easy source for fetching the nutritional info was Subway India's website. I labored for an hour comparing various Subs, finally slapping them all on a single doc for a quick lookup, sorts of a cheatsheet (that I share here). I continued reviewing nutritional features of all those Subs, which I then highlighted as "Always a good idea" (Green), "Maybe for some variety" (Orange), "Are you insane? Never!" (Red).

For my favorites: "Chicken Teriyaki" and "Roasted Chicken" top among the meat Subs - both for being low on fat, while additionally the former for being minimal, and the latter for being (comparatively) protein rich. The vegetarians should be happy with "Veg Shammi", which makes you full, gives a carb boost, still being light on fat. "Veggie Delite" is when you want to be more austere with everything.

Now to the most loathsome of Subs: All those highlighted in RED on the cheatsheet are those which, I believe, erase the distinction between Subways and McDonalds. Imbalanced foods soaked in fat. It's like sucking on a cube of Amul butter separately. The King of all is the "Paneer Tikka", and "Tuna", which contain 27% and 24% of fat, respectively, just about 8-9 times higher than the healthiest of Subs. You'd be feeding these to survivors of great afflictions, or malnourished beggar people.

Coincidentally, as I made my optimal choice for the day, and ordered a Roasted Chicken Sub at the nearest Subway, I found about the reintroduction of their Sub-of-the-Day promotion, and Monday was a Roasted Chicken day. Yay, cheaper sub without a guilty conscience of being cheap! Tuesdays are for Aloo Patty (which is great if you are running a marathon the next day), Wednesdays is Chicken Ham which ranks among the healthiest on cheatsheet, Thursdays is Veg Shammi which is again a Green.
But Fridays is "Chicken Seekh", to be followed by "Tuna" on Saturday, both of which feature in RED. "Chicken Tandoori", the Sunday special, had no nutrition information on their website. Assuming that most of the market traffic is on these 3 days over the weekend, Subway has made a vile offering here, promoting not-so-healthy food over the better options they have on the menu.

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