Is Subway Healthy? Court Ruling About Chain’s Bread Contains Surprise Findings

If you have been eating Subway thinking it’s a healthier fast-food option, then you may need to change your thinking, as the sandwich chain has come under fire in an Irish court ruling which says the bread their famous footlongs are made on cannot be defined as such thanks to the amounts of sugar in it.

According to The Guardian, the Irish Supreme Court rules that under Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972, the amount of sugar in the chain’s bread us also unable to be defined as a Staple food due to the amount of sugar, which is five times the amount that qualifies it as a staple food under the act, which gives staple foods VAT exemption.

The Value-Added Tax states that the sugar allowed in a bread product cannot be more than 2% of the total weight of flour in the dough, but all of the bread options in Subway’s chain contain about 10% sugar content, ABC Affiliate WFTS reports.

The ruling came from an appeal by franchisee Bookfinders Ltd.

“The argument depends on the acceptance of the prior contention that the Subway heated sandwich contains ‘bread’ as defined, and therefore can be said to be food for the purposes of the Second Schedule rather than confectionary. Since that argument has been rejected, this subsidiary argument must fail,” the ruling stated.

The ruling does not affect how the bread or sandwiches are classified anywhere else, including the United States, but it could be a small setback since the company has made their name on claims of making sandwiches that were healthier alternatives to traditional fast food, and even used former spokesman Jared Fogle in tons of commercials and advertisements, where he claimed to have lost 245 pounds by combining a diet of the sandwiches and exercise. He remained as the spokesperson until 2015 when the company parted ways with him after he was convicted of possession of child pornography and traveling to pay for sex with minors.

According to information that can be downloaded from the company’s website, bread including the Italian White, 9-Grain Wheat, Italian Herb and Cheese and Sourdough all contain 3g of sugar in a 6” serving. When a sandwich increases to Footlong size, those numbers are doubled to 6g of sugar per sandwich. The 9-grain Honey Oat and Roasted Garlic Bread also contain 5g and 4 g respectively in a 6” sandwich.

As for the sandwiches themselves, the company still prides itself on having “Fresh Fit” options, which include the Black Forest Ham, Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, Turkey Breast and Veggie Delite Sandwiches. Still, when prepared standard and served on 9-grain wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cucumbers, the Black Forest Ham, for example, still contains 260 calories, 4g fat and 8g sugar.

Subway Sandwich A Subway sandwich is seen in a restaurant.  Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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