Is Subway Really Healthy?

webmd_rf_photo_of_subway_meatball_subThere are more subway restaurants around the world than McDonalds (37,000+ and counting!) – and the chain has done a great job of positioning their menu as the healthy alternative to fast food. With a slogan of “eat fresh” and advertising campaigns built around losing weight and eating smarter (remember Jared?), it begs the question: Is Subway really that healthy?

I once heard someone compare eating at Subway versus McDonalds to jumping off the 30th floor instead of the 40th. It’s an apt analogy. Either way, the outcome is still going to be the same. In this instance, a larger waistline is the likely result.

Of course, some Subway sandwiches are healthy. For instance, I’ve opted for a six inch Veggie Sandwich on whole wheat topped with grilled chicken and no condiments. It’s low in unhealthy fats, high in good carbs and protein and loaded up with essential nutrients.

But then there are sandwiches like the foot long Big Philly Cheese Steak, Chicken and Bacon Ranch, Meatball Marinara or Tuna Sandwich – all of which clock in with nearly a thousand calories. It’s also worth distinguishing between low fat and healthy. With a respectable 9 grams of fat, Subway’s Sweet Onion Chicken¬†Teriyaki Sandwich is positioned as low fat. But it still has a whooping 760 calories. And then there’s all the sodium found in deli meats.

For anyone trying to eat smarter, these sandwiches can do some real damage.

If you do want to eat at Subway, be mindful of portions, calories, sodium and fat. Steer clear of cheese, mayo, creamy dressings or any other unhealthy toppings. Order your sandwich on whole wheat bread and go for six inches rather than the foot long.

The bottom line: Regardless of the restaurant, the lesson here is to look past the marketing hype. Just because a food is positioned, advertised or labeled with alleged health benefits doesn’t make it a smart choice.



About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I appreciate you shedding light on this subject. My parents both don’t know how to distinguish between food that LOOKS healthy and food that is actually healthy. I try to get them to look at the ingredients and the nutritional facts, but they don’t know what they are supposed to be looking for. It’s a real struggle for me because they think they’re doing themselves good when they buy a bag of trail mix that has tons of preservatives and lots of sugars, while in their heads it’s just trail mix.

  2. Thanks for educating your following Davey! My husband and I rarely eat out, however, when on the road and we are forced to eat somewhere, we will also opt for the veggie sandwiches from Subway. We feel that this is the safest choice there is, however, one has to wonder how much “whole wheat’ is really in the whole wheat bread? What percentage is additives and preservatives and/or fillers? We are so used to eating real food at home that road trips can become quite difficult because of the unknown ingredients or source of ingredients in restaurant food, particularly fast food restaurants. Thanks again. Check out my website just in case you need any photos…

  3. I appreciate the healthy options available at Subway, however as with dining out anywhere you still have to be conscientious of what your eating. Just because the bag says Subway doesn’t mean you’re making good choices. What Subway also isn’t totally up front about is the fact that Jared lost all that weight eating low fat/calorie 6 inch subs and walked several miles daily.

  4. I have to say the entire time I was reading this it was Davey’s voice narrating it to me…. I dislike fast food of all kinds, which seems ironic considering I’m paying my way through college with a job at McDonald’s.

  5. Subway’s Wheat Bread still contains High Fructose Corn Syrup!

  6. Great article! Thank you for giving us some good direction on the value… and pitfalls of “fast food.”

  7. I usually get chicken, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise and cheese on hearty italian bread is that healthy?

  8. Like most restaurants, diners or fastfood chains, it all boils down to what you pick wether it’s healthy or not.

    But then again, my first thought would be not to eat at a fastfood chain in the first place if you’re gonna want something healthy. You don’t go to the McDonalds for the McSalad, right?

  9. If there is anyone who can’t figure out the Philly cheese steak isn’t as healthy a choice as all veggies, they probably are a lost cause. And doesn’t Subway also list calories and fat on their menu?

  10. christopher says:

    subway is gr8-but what you put on it.

  11. Thanks Davey. I always enjoy your health recommendations. They are sound and you obviously practice what you preach!

  12. Excellent post..

    You’re completely right. A lot of restaurants now a days offer heathier options, but also offer the not so healthy. It’s the consumers duty to be well informed.

    That’s why its even more important for people to be more educated in the study of healthy nutrition. And not solely base their purchases on “advertising hype”.

  13. Good post Davey! I was just wondering what other sandwiches (if any) you’d recommend from Subway. I’ll be starting a new job soon, and may well be forced to eat at Subway for lunch on a regular basis.

  14. I used to be recommended this website through my cousin. I am not certain whether or not
    this post is written by him as nobody else understand such designated about my difficulty.

    You are wonderful! Thank you!


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