Fast Food Fail and the Subway Panacea
Eating healthful foods isn’t always easy. Everyday we are forced to juggle the demands of our personal and professional lives with little or no time to adequately plan for our physical and emotional needs with a home-cooked meal or mindfully prepared snack. And, almost as inevitable as eating itself, hunger most often strikes when we find ourselves miles away from the go-to snacks we typically carry without a single natural grocer or conscionable juice stand in sight. But, as inconvenient as it may be, we humans must eat and circumstance may force us to seek out establishments that provide quick and reasonably healthy meals. Personally, which I am sure is the case with many others, such situations typically turn into quests for the glowing green and yellow Subway sign and the sometimes-magical experience of eating the familiarly stale bread and wilted vegetables.
Well, our Subway days may be over as a recent study has found that eating at restaurants marketed as ‘healthy’ may not be any better than visiting the grease covered establishments that we all love to hate. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, people (adolescents in particular) order just as many calories at ‘healthy’ fast food restaurants like Subway as they do when they eat at less health-reputable establishment like McDonald’s. And, although the nutrient profile of Subway is slightly healthier than that of McDonald’s, we have a tendency to over consume at both, which directly contributes to weight gain.
Understandably there are some weaknesses in a study such as this (meal composition throughout the remainder of the day, how much was consumed and marginal differences in calorie composition depending upon preparation), but it doesn’t bode well for our collective health that many people, including myself up until now, consider Subway one of, if not the best fast-food option available. Couple this with the fact that Subways now outnumbers McDonald’s worldwide and we could have a major problem on our hands.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that the occasional foot long, dry, cheese-free Veggie Delight doesn’t have its place in a healthy diet, I am simply suggesting that the excessive use of sugar and oil laden condiments, oversized cookies and mega soft drinks may be best avoided in favor of a nice brisk walk or yoga class.