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Franchise fast food restaurant that primarily sells sandwiches and salads

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I want to like Subway more, but not until they remove "azodicarbonamide" from the food.

  • Oct 1, 2009
  • by
In college, the lunch choices near campus were pretty grim. Pizza place that only got busy after 12am? No. Sbarro? Absolutely not. Food Court chinese food? UGH. Burrito? Maybe, but not every day.

I found myself at Subway a lot during this time of my life. Sandwiches never seem to get boring to me, and for $5 (or $2.99 if you only want a 6"-er!) you can ask your "sandwich artist" (such a silly term they use) to load up on everything. It was key for me to get as full as possible for the least amount of money.

I don't eat meat, and I don't dare touch fast-food seafood, so my Subway meal of choice was a Veggie on Honey Oat with Pepper Jack cheese (sometimes White American cheese to switch it up). Then I asked for it all (carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, banana peppers, onions, etc)- the only thing I spared was jalapenos. Add some dijon mustard and their blend of seasonings and inhale. A mediocre-flavored sandwich to keep me going until my next class.

Since graduating from college I've changed my eating habits a lot and one of the changes was to nix Subway from my life. Why? Ingredients! They are cheap and quick but its important to remember they're still fast food, and that means corporate, which means cost-displacement, which means lower quality ingredients. I found a list online of the ingredients in their generic wheat bread:

Enriched flour (flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, whole wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, wheat gluten, contains less than 2% of the following: wheat bran, yeast, salt, soybean oil, dough conditioner (acetylated tartaric acid esters of mono-and diglycerides, ammonium sulfate, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, potassium iodate, amylase (enzymes)], cracked wheat, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, caramel color (contains sulfites), dried honey preparation (honey powder, invert sugar, wheat starch, soy bran flour, silicon dioxide [anti-caking]), mineral oil. Contains soy and wheat.

Unfortunately, the ingredient list reads the same or worse for all other bread choices. Um, I have no idea what any of those things are (the ingredients underlined denote extra cluelessness) and I would like to NOT put them in my body. If this list is so bad I can only imagine what preservatives they use in their vegetables, or in the cheese they use. I shudder at the thought.

It will take a lot for me to step food inside a Subway these days, but I kept my rating a "+2" because I know not everyone is as neurotic as me when it comes to ingredients. As I mentioned before Subway is great for two things and they do those things very well: price and speed. Also, they do have a variety of toppings for your sandwich (wide selection of dressings and cheeses) as well as a selection of chips and soft drinks. If you're inbetween classes on the road, Subway is a cheap way to get full fast.
Subway sandwich

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August 05, 2011
Yeah. Take a look at the new pita bread or flat bread. There are fewer calories and probably less junk additives.
February 26, 2010
Great review, but I still like their subs. I always get a veggie delight, just vegetables and cheese. Have you checked whether the new pita bread contains some of those aforementioned ingredients?
February 26, 2010
I have, and they do. The wraps too :(
February 26, 2010
Aw, that's too bad. :( You can always go for one of their salads, though. Those are pretty yummy and don't have any bread. :)
October 10, 2010
fast food is one of the reasons why I cook my own food. anyone for buttered squash with rosemary, peppers and tomato? :)
October 15, 2010
Gosh, that sounds yummy, William! Well, I've stopped eating the subway sandwiches, but I still get a salad there every once in a while.
December 01, 2009
Thanks for the review. I only go to Subway when I'm desperate. It seems like half the time I get stale bread and by the time I realize it (I always take it to go) I don't feel like going back to complain.
October 04, 2009
Great review! Very informative! Although Subway is one of my favorite fast food places...it does make you wonder about their food when you look at the ingredients of their bread! I wonder what ingredients are in store bought bread etc?
October 05, 2009
Thanks :) Buying store-bought bread in a generic grocery store (A&P, Ralphs, Shop Rite, Stop&Shop, etc) is usually a rough game for me, ahaha. Every product in the bread aisle is chock full of weird preservatives (that's why bread usually lasts for 1+ weeks without growing mold), refined/processed flour, and it's extremely hard to find a product that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup. To remedy this I try to buy my bread from a natural foods store, or Whole Foods (if you're on a budget Trader Joes has some good choices too and for way less - about $2.99 a loaf) These breads have honey or molasses as sweeteners and usually contain much more fiber and protein, making it an all-around better choice! However, since there is little-to-no preservatives in this bread, you'll have to refrigerate the loaf to keep it fresh for a week or so. This is normal, though, NO food should last as long as preservatives make it last!!
October 04, 2009
So how do these ingredients compare to a regular grocery store type bread? And what about quality bakery bread? Do they use these aliens sounding ingredients? I can't compare, because I make all my own bread. I know the ingredient, its cheaper, I can make a variety, and it only takes a few minutes over two or three days, so I do need some time at home on a weekend. But, it is definitely worth the little work.
October 05, 2009
Making your own bread is the only way to really avoid all those weird chemicals and preservatives, so good for you! Also, so true about it being cheaper and having more of a variety! Most breads at the grocery store have pretty disgusting ingredients. While not all contain "azodicarbonamide", many do include a plethora of un-spell-able preservatives. Also, you'd be hard-pressed to find bread in the grocery store that does NOT have high-fructose corn syrup in it.
I would only trust small independent bakeries with bread quality, ie one that you trust to make bread every day right in the back of the shop. Larger places that are affiliated with an even-larger company (i.e. bakeries at a chain grocery store like A&P, maybe even Panera Bread, etc) usually put on a "we bake everything here!" facade but typically ship things in from another large factory where the ingredients aren't so great. So to avoid all this, I usually try to buy my bread at a natural foods store (I'm in CA so they're a dime a dozen but Whole Foods or Trader Joes can be A+ too). Those breads are much better for you - tons of fiber and protein, molasses or honey instead of corn syrup as sweeteners, AND you can recognize ALL the ingredients (and there are usually less than 10. Not 15+ like grocery store bread).
The only downside is that foods without preservatives will not last as long (this is a good thing! Bread is not supposed to last for two weeks without mold, as I'm sure you know from baking your own) to combat this I keep my bread in the fridge and it will last up to a week just fine.
October 02, 2009
Great review! Since you don't eat meat I'd like to add a comment about their chicken and the fact that it lacks that "real chicken" texture...come on, people--chicken breast isn't supposed to look or feel like that!
October 02, 2009
I've seen it before while eating with friends...it looks sort of...rubbery? And too white? If I can remember correctly...yuck!
October 04, 2009
Yea, I've always been disappointed with their chicken...it is sort of rubbery and doesn't taste much like actual chicken. You'd think with the seemingly freshness of all their other toppings, they could do better chicken. Still, they've gotten my business plenty of times.
October 02, 2009
I never thought about Subway one way or another, although in a pinch (as you say) it's pretty good. I haven't been there in awhile, and after reading your review, I'm not sure if I'll go back. Those ingredients! Yes, it is corporate and they have to make a buck, but there must be a better way to keep us all healthy!
October 01, 2009
Great review! I also don't eat much at Subway or any other fast food. The stuff is just too cheap and when it is that cheap ($5 for a foot long sub??) you know they are not putting the best ingredients in the food. At least they do have salads. So in a pinch I would try one.
October 01, 2009
Excellent review! That high fructose corn syrup is a real killer isn't it? Since I eat a lot of bread it will probably kill me. I eat at a Subway maybe twice a month. Almost always have chicken salad on wheat. Like ari1974 said it is still better than eating at Burger King. Lots of useful info in your review. Thanks again for posting.
October 02, 2009
I know! I hate it. It's amazing how different foods taste when you wean yourself off of high fructose corn syrup - you'll never go back to it again because its so sweet! I could probably recommend some good natural bread brands to you if you'd like...well, from the grocery store at least. Franchises I sadly can't help with...
October 01, 2009
Very informative review -- Subway is still better than most of the other junk I feed myself -- it is all relative
October 01, 2009
Haha I know what you mean. At least they have vegetables, right?
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review by . December 12, 2008
Subway, for a long time, was down in the negatives in my book. It was just plain nasty! But then along came Jared, who claimed to have lost 245 pounds simply by eating only Subway sandwiches, and suddenly the restaurant chain rocketed back into success! Not in my books, though. It took a while for them to truly start incorporating fresh ingredient choices, like spinach and bell peppers. But the icing on the cake was when they introduced five-dollar footlongs.    Now, you can …
About the reviewer
Melissa Aquino ()
Ranked #62
Born and raised in NJ, relocated to Boston, MA to study at Emerson College, transplanted to Hollywood, CA to get my career started on the fairer coast.      I love hiking, eating new … more
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About this restaurant


Subway restaurants, owned by Doctor's Associates, Inc, is a chain of fast-food sandwich restaurants in over 88 countries worldwide. It was started in 1965 by Fred De Luca who, at age 17, opened his first sandwich shop as a means to raise money for college.

In addition to serving submarine-style sandwiches, Subway sells salads and a small assortment of baked goods (mostly cookies). Their growth and success has widely been attributed to the rise of a large health-conscious clientele that has shunned traditional fast-foods such as McDonald's and Burger King.

As of 2008, Subway was the third-largest fast-food franchise on the planet, just behind Yum! Brands and McDonald's. It is currently the world's fastest-growing franchise. 
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