Dear Subway: I Want Chicken In My Chicken Sandwich!

subway chicken fake

Caution: If you like eating Subway’s oven roasted chicken sandwich, you might not want to read this post! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about building a healthier sandwich – and mentioned that wheat bread isn’t the same thing as whole wheat bread. And that, according to its ingredients, Subway’s wheat bread is really just unhealthy white bread in disguise. It’s a deceptively unhealthy choice for health-conscious consumers.

But it doesn’t stop there.

When I’ve gone to Subway, I’ve ordered the oven roasted chicken sandwich. It seems like a smart choice.

But I was surprised to see the chicken breast patty listed on Subway’s ingredients page. After all, what’s in a chicken breast patty other than chicken? Maybe a little salt and pepper? It should be a pretty short list.

No such luck. According to Subway’s ingredients for their actual website, here’s what’s in their 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.

That’s nearly 20 ingredients. In a chicken breast patty. Excuse me while I vomit.

It’s bizarre that the second ingredient is water. And that the there are three different types of sugar in the patty including corn syrup solids, brown sugar and dextrose. Also, why does a chicken sandwich need “chicken type” flavor? Clearly it’s because this chicken sandwich is packed with non-chicken filler. Autolyzed yeast extract, by the way, is an inexpensive substitute for MSG.

While the nutrition information for Subway’s oven roasted chicken is fairly healthy, it doesn’t tell the full story. For those of us that (at least try, most of the time) to honor our bodies with whole, real foods, this oven roasted chicken patty dosen’t make the cut.

I’m happy to say that I’ve had my last Subway sandwich. My body deserves better.

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Comments

  1. Trip Affleck says:

    o, spare me, you hypersensitive gym bunny. if you want chicken with “a little salt and pepper”, go home. if you HONESTLY believed you were getting fresh from the grill chicken at a national chain that gets daily frozen deliveries, full of preservatives and flavoring agents, then just stop blogging about food right now. dope.

    • Seriously Trip? Get your head out of your ass…many people do believe when they go out to a place to eat and want healthy they are getting healthy…Sadly it takes people like Davey to bring the truth forward…Sadly it is idiots like you, who obviously really don’t give 2 shits that have to bash…cuz you are to damn fat and/or jealous to do the same investigation, hence being a sheeple, which of course it the downfall of American Society…

    • Trip, have ever tasted the so called Chicken at Subway?
      You don’t even have to taste it to tell that it is synthetic.
      You can see in the commercials that it is not chicken.
      My nephew goes to subway because he is a vegetarian and that would be a good reason to go there except for the fact that you would still be eating their chemically induced synthetic bread.

  2. Vikrant Lal says:

    Hi Davey, I’m a food scientist. So I have some experience with this.
    I’m a big fan so I wanted to reach out and share 🙂

    I agree with how unappetizing this chicken is. And I agree people have a choice in what they buy and eat. I try not to buy this stuff or consume it either. After all it is a fast food “product.”
    There’s a difference between a product and a food. People “should” be cooking more and making their own foods, and buying and consuming products sparingly as a supplement to real food. — Personally, we know how hard that is, and I eat out more than I should.

    However to shed some light, the filler is not the autolyzed yeast extract. The filler is actually the water; phosphates are commonly added as a binder, to help the meat retain the water and salt during shipping and cooking. Usually this is sodium phosphate that keeps the filler intact in the chicken so it stays moist and juicy.

    -When ingredients are in parenthesis like: [hydrolyzed corn gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, thiamine hydrochloride, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate] it means they are sub-ingredients. In this case sub-ingredients of the Chicken Flavor.

    – The seasoning has sub-ingredients (corn syrup solids, vinegar powder [maltodextrin, modified corn starch and tapioca starch, dried vinegar], The sugars and starches are there to make sure the seasoning is able to be dispersed properly and also enhance and protect the flavor)

    – Every product on the market has flavor in it, even your fresh squeezed orange juice.
    You need flavor to ensure the product tastes consistent from patty to patty across the country/world. In this product they use a combination of a blend of seasoning, and also a chicken flavor. The enemies to any product are 3 things: Heat, Light, & Oxygen.
    So when we say “protect” a product. We are mainly referring to these as well as microbiological concerns.
    – When a food is intended to have long shelf-life you have to add these ingredients otherwise the food wouldn’t last for more than a day or two.
    Processing like heating or freezing, etc to prolong the shelf life, also destroys flavor so we have to “top-note” it for it to last.

    – So though I agree the ingredients don’t sound appealing, they are not necessarily bad for you. And if someone feels strongly about it they should probably raise their own animals, slaughter them, and consume it the same day.
    That may sound like a strong statement, but if you look at the label of many raw meats in the supermarket you’ll see they add ingredients like flavors to ensure the meat maintains some freshness in transport.

    As food scientists we’re expected to create the impossible. Which is make things last a long time, but also still taste good and be safe. We do what we can within the limitations of existing technology. So it’s good that consumers like you and everyone are pushing back because it forces someone to be innovative and come up with new solutions.

    Hope this helps and was interesting. I couldn’t really go into a lot of details because I have mainly worked on beverages and on sweet goods. Meats are more complicated; but all product ingredients are extensively tested for toxicological safety.

    -Vikrant

    • Thanks Vikrant,

      A very nice summery of food and products. People are shocked “Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice” has a chemical flavor profile, (unless you squeeze it yourself).

      Fresh and natural are not legal terms in the food product industry.

      As you correctly point out, the origin of most of these were for Food Safety, (People Safety), then to keep the quality of the product over time and distance. Many more lives saved because of this then harmed, no question. That said, it’s not food, that is grown and cook, consumed, as this goes “bad” within a few days.

      Thanks for the explanation, Troy

    • I agree with you and you made some great points! Thanks for going into detail about the purpose of these additives. I have a degree in dietetics and have taken food science courses. It shocks me that people assume food is all fresh and free of additives when eating out. If people want to avoid these than they should be cooking at home and reading ingredients. 🙂

  3. yeah Davey… but why would you expect healthy food from subway? it just does not make sense… I live in Italy and we might sometimes eat foods that are considered unehealty… then again: it is always fresh and natural. real tomatoes, real butter, real cheese… as said… not always healthy… but i am a strong believer that when one uses only real ingredients, one can do little wrong.

    • Real ingredients are necessarily safe. Root beer was made for years with sassafrass oil until it was determined that it caused liver damage and cancer.

  4. I’m not sure where you can eat healthy food anymore but as much as I don’t like Subway myself I would rather eat there then dozens of other fast food places.
    Everyone raves about Diet Coke but I still have yet to see that on the corners report or hear about somebody dying from Diet Coke.
    I think people should stop smoking drinking texting driving and shooting each other.

    • People die from diet coke everyday…in the form of cancer , diabetes, etc. combinations of all the years of absorbing these chemicals. Just a thought. I agree with your last sentence.

  5. ummm I think it goes without saying that the key word in the product is patty. if it was just chicken breast it would be listed as such…without the word patty. As by definition, a patty is “a small flat cake of minced or finely chopped food, esp. meat.”. should pretty much explain it all…

  6. christopher says:

    be careful what you eat at subway.opt for healthful alternatives.

  7. I believe the FDA allows food companies to not list ingredients that are less than .5 grams per serving. That being said, if you’re someone who has food allergies or certain dietary restrictions, this can be detrimental to your health. If you are allergic to peanuts, and a certain food has less than .5 grams per serving and you eat it, you could be in a lot of trouble.

    • Vikrant Lal says:

      That is correct. For example many products say 0 Trans Fats. If they contain less than 0.5 g of Trans Fats “Per Serving” they can label 0. — The key is reading the ingredient statement. If it lists “hydrogenated” or “partially-hydrogenated” you’ll want to stay away.

  8. Barry Mailey says:

    Wow thats it from now on its water only for me

  9. Gonzothegreat198 says:

    IIRC subway markets their healthy food as healthy based on caloric content not about ingredients. As many people have said if you are looking at ANY fast food place and think you are getting healthy ingredients, then you have more wrong than the fast food places.

  10. Are you guys all simple or what? Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so unless you believe SEASONINGS and WATER, somehow make up any more than .1% of the overall breast, then you are probably pretty slow. OR just believe every stupid little thing you read. Probably both.

    • with all the other ingredients, the amount of meat contained in the patty could be very little. An example is a dog food company claiming that beef is the number one ingredient. But it’s followed by 5 types of grains. to put it simply, 10 grams of beef, 5 grams of rice, 5 grams of wheat, 5 grams of rye, 5 grams of oats and 5 grams of barley! it means there is more than double in grains than meat. Just because meat is listed as the first ingredient, that does not mean it’s mostly meat. With this new insight, I hope you realize that you are the simpleton.

  11. mostly right says:

    So every one has hit the target. .. or got close.
    ALL restaurants in the USA market for your money. They can say its healthy. .. or natural even go so far as boldly lie to you, examples include McDonald’s monopoly game (the chances of you winning are so slim you may mistake it for the lottery).
    But the hard core truth is this
    If you don’t buy it, they lose a customer.
    The more people that don’t buy the cheaper they get. All untill they are so incredibly tasteless that they close their doors. It takes a group effort to do that to a mutinational corporation but it can be done.
    Bottom line: if you don’t like the company’s product (s)…don’t buy it!

  12. I just had my last one as well, I got a piece of bone in my oven roasted ‘chicken breast’ sandwich. Its not going to kill me but I expect chicken breast when I pay for chicken breast.

  13. I can’t believe subway gets away with calling it “Breast”. There should be labeling laws to better reflect what subway actually serves. With subways logic, they would call hotdogs “Steak”. I did notice, however, that they stopped calling their slave force “Sandwich Artists”.

  14. I think the issue is more how they advertise the product. Oven roasted chicken makes it sound more like they took a fresh chicken breast and put it in the oven. When it should be labeled roasted chicken patty. Misleading in my opinion.

  15. Angela baker says:

    I KNEW something was wrong with it! It had a weird powdery taste with a weird texture, i tried to feed some to my pet rats and my dog and they wouldnt touch it! And theyll eat anything! Thats what brought me to this site, cuz i looked up, whats in subway roast chicken, gross, misleading and disgusting! I threw it out!

  16. Harold Davis says:

    It looks like spam but it tastes like chicken type

  17. I agree …this is disgustingly to someone whom is trying to eat healthy..there chicken is the same junk as McDonald’s ..processed junk that will kill u!!! Stop eating this shit people until subway agrees to use real chicken without all the filler an ingredients!!!!!

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  1. […] in point, my previous blog post about the nearly 20 ingredients in Subway’s chicken breast. No, not 20 ingredients in the entire sandwich. That’s 20 ingredients in just the chicken […]

  2. […] in point, my previous blog post about the nearly 20 ingredients in Subway’s chicken breast. No, not 20 ingredients in the entire sandwich. That’s 20 ingredients in just the chicken […]

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    Dear Subway: I Want Chicken In My Chicken Sandwich! | Davey Wavey Fitness