in Food

Subway is Not Healthy but it is A Complete Waste of Your Hard Earned Money

Subway Sub

The title of this post is not a joke.

I used to love subway. I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread bacon. Whenever I needed some fast food I would head into subway if possible. I loved subway so much that I did a project on it while studying business at Grand Rapids Community College.

I’ve learned since then.

I have learned that subway does not serve whole, real food. The majority of their food has a list of ingredients that even a well educated adult would not understand. It’s sad but its ok. I may never spend another dime at subway in my life. Sure, I could order a veggie salad with avocado.

I then ask… why would I want to spend up to $5 or more for around 100-300 calories of food?

I don’t. And I won’t. Its not worth it. That much food would tie me over for 1-3 hours at the most. I’d rather fast and have my body eat my own fat and then simply eat more later on. Subway is not whole food. Its food-like.

Have You Ever Looked at Subway’s Ingredient List?

I found the following via some link that has expired.

STEAK Beef, beef broth (water, beef stock), seasoning (hydrolyzed soy protein, salt, dextrose,modified corn starch, sodium phosphates, beef extract, soy sauce powder [soy sauce (soybeans, salt, alcohol) maltodextrin, salt], yeast extract, natural and artificial flavor, grill flavor [maltodextrin, grill flavor (from vegetable oil), modified corn starch, corn syrup solids]), beef flavor (water, natural flavors, beef fat, gelatin/gum arabic coacervate, xanthan gum, citric acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and soybean oil). Rubbed with: salt, maltodextrin, modified corn starch, dextrose, caramel color, beef extract, garlic powder, onion powder, natural flavor. May contain tomato, lemon, onions, peppers, hydrolyzed corn protein, autolyzed yeast extract, modified food starch, acacia gum, sunflower oil, tricalcium phosphate, silicon dioxide, spices and sulfites. Contains soy.

I’ll pass on this.

CHICKEN BREAST PATTY Chicken breast with rib meat, water, seasoning (corn syrup solids, vinegar powder [maltodextrin, modified corn starch and tapioca starch, dried vinegar], brown sugar, salt, dextrose, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken type flavor [hydrolyzed corn gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, thiamine hydrochloride, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate]), sodium phosphates.

I’ll pass on this too.

I need to do one more. This is for those of you who think bread is healthy. Next time you think you want a slice of bread I encourage you to buy a pound of bacon from your local farmers market instead. The benefits of swapping the 2 are invaluable.

9-GRAIN WHEAT Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Whole Wheat Flour, Contains 2% Or Less Of The Following: Wheat Gluten, Oat Fiber, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Wheat Bran, Calcium Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin D3), Salt, Rolled Wheat, Rye Nuggets, Dough Conditioners (Datem, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate), Yeast Nutrients (Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate), Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Rolled Oats, Rye Flakes, Caramel Color, Triticale Flakes, Parboiled Brown Rice, Refinery Syrup, Honey, Barley Flakes, Flaxseed, Millet, Sorghum Flour, Flavor (Yeast Extract, Salt, Natural Flavor). Contains wheat.

The Good From Subway

Not all food from subway is terrible. Their vegetables are real. If I was not paying then I would order a veggie salad with extra avocado. I would add a touch of the oil (canola and olive blend) plus a lot of red wine vinegar.

That is a healthy snack. However, its not worth my money. Why would I pay $5 or more for a subway salad when I can enjoy 2 primal/paleo meals where the nutrition is out of this world?

As I said in the title…

Subway is not healthy or a complete waste of your hard earned money.

photo credit


  1. I hate that Subway markets themselves as a healthy option. Any person with half a brain has to realize just by looking at the meat taht its completely fake. Also, i remember that one of my very 1st blogs (well before i went primal) was about the strange odor that clings to you when you leave a subway…its just plain disgusting.

    • I swore off Subway years ago because I absolutely could not stand the smell of the place, and I still can’t. I would eat a regular McDonald’s cheeseburger over anything at Subway.

      • I think McDonalds is healthier than Subway… I’ll be dissecting them and the title will be something about how it is in fact healthier or at least worth the moneyr.

        • you are right about that. mcdonalds beef really is 100% beef. the only problem is that they cook it to 160 degrees creating hetero cyclic amines

  2. The bread is bad enough. The so-called meat ingredients are downright disgusting.

  3. I never have been to a subway for a meal. Now, I am sure that isn’t going to happen. I had been thinking about trying them, thanks for the information.

    Paleo means eating healthy and there are plenty of reasons to eat at home. When I do go out I find that if I see it I eat it. That’s not really very good, I know whats usually wrong I am hungry. Now that is what I am working on.

    • Not once?! Seriously? That is actually quite odd! Don’t you dare ever try it!

      • I don’t think its odd, I’ve never been there either. Last time in McD’s was nearly 20 years ago when the kids were wanting to go into the ball pit. We told them they served mcboogers and neither will eat there to this day. Lots of fast junk places we’ve never been to.

      • For me it isn’t odd. The truth is it would have been a step up considering that I lived on sugar. Food wasn’t that important at the time. I wish I knew better, there was very little information out at the time. The Internet changed that for the better.

  4. I’m confused by the title Toad. I think it should say Subway is Not Healthy AND it’s a complete waste of your money. The way it’s read now, sounds like it’s not a waste of money. Just thought I’d assist as I’m a huge grammar nut.

      • Read my reasoning and then rethink… then let me know what you think 🙂

    • I ment or and here is why…

      Subway can be healthy. A veggie salad with avocado and red wine vinegar is healthy. No one can argue against that. However, this will cost one $5 or more. Thus, it is not worth my money to be consuming less than 300 calories from a place I do not believe in. A subway sub is NOT healthy but its cheaper and you get more calories out of it. A salad is more expensive I think but you get a lot less calories. Calories are energy. Thus, it is not healthy OR a complete waste of my hard earned money. As I said in the post, I would eat a veggie salad with avocado if someone else was paying for it. This type of meal is healthy. So even though its a waste of my money its still healthy. Thus it can’t be and. It has to be “or.”

      Does this make sense? Correct me if I am wrong 🙂

  5. I kinda agree with Bree, haha. I minored in English. I think Subway is smelly, too… I loved the place in college, too – and it always made me feel gross after. I continued to eat it because it was the ONLY place nearby. Ugh, that restaurant smells.

    • Read my comment to her. I said “or” for a good reason… did you read the post?!

      • I see now what you meant about not being a complete waste of money. I think the confusion for me was that in reading the article I thought that you were saying that you could get a salad at Subway for $5 which would be healthy, but a complete waste of money.

      • subway nut here, sitting in subway eating lunch. I agree with your points, but personally choose to eat here regardless as it is very difficult to have delicious fresh homemade food for lunch in my line of work and there is usually a subway nearby. having said that, I eat more to get good nutrients in (vegetables) than to keep bad stuff (additives) out. maybe one day I’ll get cancer – oh well at least I’ve a delicious lunch to look forward to 😀

  6. I used to LOVE Subway too. Used to love heading over for lunch in college. Parties that featured one of their giant subs were always a favorite too.

    Didn’t know they had that much crap in the ingredient list though. Great post.

    • Yea its disgusting. But their veggies and avocado is whole food. This is why its not healthy OR a waste of money. I can easily eat a veggie salad with avocado…. thats healthy! BUT, a waste of my money. Eating a subway sub gives me more calories and is thus better worth ones money if they won’t feel like crap (I never did) but its not healthy. It does do a little damage and is now completely disgusting to me.

  7. Man I used to pig out on subway. In college they had buy 1 foot long get 1 free on tuesdays after 3pm and all day on sunday. You know what I was eating for four days straight. It was healthy and I was still pushing 260lbs. It has been 3 years since I have stepped in one of those places and I am never going back. I spend good money at good restaurants where there are whole food options and I know the food was prepared fresh. I wonder if Jared is still thin because he sure as hell never looked healthy.

    • Don’t you ever consider going back!!

      I wonder how many pull-ups Jared can do…

    • Lol. I used to eat “healthy” at subway and went with “whole” wheat!

  8. Jared gained a lot of weight back, that’s why he’s not featured on Subway commercials anymore.

    We went to Subway yesterday for lunch. I got a salad. Iceberg lettuce, wilty tomatoes, pickles and banana peppers with a few olives and bellpeppers thrown in. I would have been better off not eating at all. I was starving by 3:00pm.

  9. In a rare pinch I used to get the kids toasted cheese (the shredded stuff they have, NOT the American slices) on honey oat (no HFCS), but stopped doing that for the same reason you don’t get a salad there anymore, it’s a LOT of money for NOTHING.

  10. Oh man, I’m with the others here complaining about the smell… I get nauseous just being in a Subway.

    I’ve also never understood why someone would get Subway instead of just paying a dollar or two more for a REAL sub full of REAL ingredients at a deli. Even the average grocery store or gas station sells a better sub than Subway.

    • Obviously I’m not recommending people eat subs often, but if someone wanted to have a rare treat and the bread wouldn’t kill their digestive system (like it would mine), Subway wouldn’t be the tastiest or most satisfying choice. =]

  11. I usually get the foot long BLT and get pretty much all the veggies on the sub. I basically eat the food with my hands and throw away the bun. I have started using my own dressing that is primal/paleo correct.

  12. Hey, Todd! I just found your site after seeing one of your smoothies posted on fastpaleo’s fb. I see your posts all the time on MDA and you seem so knowledgeable about a lot of random Paleo/Primal things! I love Moe’s even more now, since you said how Primal friendly they are, btw. Anyway, I completely agree- I used to get the chicken breast sub there with lots of veggies & mustard on whole grain and thought I was doing so well…psh! Their food is NOT food! & I would not be surprised at all if McDonald’s was better, so I’m looking forward to that post. I’m a grammar Nazi, as well, and I did read your reasoning – and it makes sense – but I think it’s still grammatically incorrect. I think if you added “either” into the title that would fit perfectly. Just a suggestion. Anyway, I’m gonna go find you on facebook so we can be friends if that’s cool with you! Grok on! 🙂

    • Lol. I’ll accept your friend request! Well, I am not going to worry about that grammar mistake – its still open for debate. I think many would be on my side 🙂

  13. Toad, this is exactly why we decided to open a deli that serves only Boars Head products and nothing like the garbage subway serves. It is a slow and painful process to re-educate people away from the $5 footlong brainwashing, but once they have Boars Head, they never go back to Subway. Keep up the great work!

    • How is Boars Head mean healthy? It has color and other additives and comes from factory farms which participate in torture and are killing the environment. It’s not brainwashing, people are just too cheap to pay for quality, and while you are bashing Subway meats, don’t forget the vegetables that are treated with what basically amounts to household cleaners. I work at Subway and I will be the first to say that there is nothing HEALTHY in the facility but be fair, please.

  14. been addicted to subway for sometime now, i am vegetarian … i always ordered a foot long veggie with lots of mayo and ranch … till a few days ago when i started investigating the caloric content of mayo and ranch … i was shocked !!!!!!!!

    i agree with you, the only thing good in a subway is the salad …..

    • me again … and what about the sodas !!!!!

      and cookies … each of those oatmeal raisin cookies is 150 cals …

      with these products (along with crappy meat) … how can they brand themselves as a healthy option ???

      • They call it healthy because it’s “low fat.” It’s far from healthy though.

  15. i used to like Subways but then i search around the internet and read many articles that claim their breads, meat is not healthy as you think..

    Anyway preservation mean is never good compare to real meat…
    And their bread is not healthy as those you can buy from the market.

  16. It’s the brainwashing of commercials and in show adversting. Brillant on subways part. I hear people say all the time I dont eat fast food I’m trying be healthy I’m going to subway. My reaction is always shock. When did ham become a health food? Unfortunately it’s a lack of education on nutrition not to mention the difference of eating for health and eating for body composition change. Granted those can be done together. It saddens me that people truly don’t know how to feed themselves.

  17. I mostly agree with you, yes subway should not tout it being healthy and low calorie, if it were you’d be better off making your own sandwich, low calorie options are half foot longs only with limited selections and little to no sauce, also sodium content of some of its “healthy sandwiches”, is high despite lower calories, in addition subway adds a bit of insult when trying to promote drinks and chips, who needs chips with a sandwich if its supposed to taste good, they had coupons which required you to buy a “30 oz drink required for deal!”.

    The ingredients are also suspect too adding salt, but having said this I think in many instances subway is healthier, if one adds a great deal of vegetables and tries to limit themselves to a six inch sandwich (A bit tough, maybe 9 inches is better but then you’ll end up finishing the sandwich), subway sandwiches are a bit more fulfilling then quickly downing a big mac or fried chicken, not being fried, or laced with many calories, why subway promotes chips and cookies, is beyond me, a great sandwich need not be accompanied by chips, this isn’t a picnic where your sandwiches are crappy or where you are looking for extra calories

    Having said that, subway’s success is because its low key, and you can customize many options for a sandwich, your local deli can do the same, but that brings you pack to the question of why franchises are successful, people expect certain things and a franchise follows rules or atleast they are supposed to, your local deli or supermarket employee at the corner store may not have all the ingredients or may have more or less, they don’t have that standard “routine”, yes chain places are boring at times, but people have that “you know what to expect and get routine”, in addition as long as the local franchise has a decent reputation, it beats the search and try this and that supermarket deli, barring always out of stock ingredients, its convenience. Unlike fast food, it doesn’t give you as much as a stuff your face and fill with fat, folks going to popeyes, mcdonalds,kfc, will almost always go for the unhealthy meals that often have little vegetables, subway is kinda like to an extent a “have it your way”, but you select a few options first to make it practical.

    I agree making your sandwiches is the way to go and sandwiches can be boring, but subway sort of makes it not so boring with convenience, and if your not eating sandwiches every day or every other day, you’ll be hard pressed to buy the breads, sauces, veggies, meats, and have it stocked and if you do so you’ll have to buy many of them to change the routine.Quiznos tried to get into premium sandwiches but is failing to a degree

  18. To elaborate on what you said, especially about ordering a salad with avocado, if you weren’t paying.. Take a good look at their kryptonite-colored avocado and tell me if that looks “real” as you call it. Those veggies are so depleted, they are hardly classified as food. I work there because I need a job. Be glad you don’t have to look at all that processed junk all the time and hear people talk about how they like to “eat healthy”.

      • Yeah, I work there out of desperation. I actually came across this blog while trying to figure out where the hell the veggies come from cause they look like they were grown in labs. I realize that organic spoils faster but damn…. Thanks for seeing through all the BS!!

  19. Gluten is bad? LOL. Subway is nothing but pure garbage. All of their meats are fake. If they could fake the vegetables, they would.

  20. Bree is correct. When you use “or” or “but,” the reader expects an opposing thought or comment, such as “..not healthy, but can be worth the money.” You explain why it it’s not healthy and CAN BE a waste of money in your article, but in the title, since you are stating two negative points (as opposed to one negative and one positive point), it should be “not healthy “AND” a waste of money.” BUT, your mistake did get me to click on your link. I’m a current Subway employee AND hugh grammar freak. P.S. I don’t believe Subway is doing anything most fast food and convenience food makers and sellers are doing – trying to make their products as appealing content and nutrition -wise as possible (they do offer nutrition information along with suggested preparation guidelines such as topping choices), BUT was fascinated with the information. Ultimately it is the consumer’s choice.

  21. Mac Danald’s is SO MUCH HEALTHIER than subway! U guys r SO intelligent. *idiots*

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