healthiest bread at Subway 2022

Healthiest Bread at Subway 2022

You’re standing in line ready to have your lunch assembled and the first question you’re faced with will largely determine the nutritional worth of your sandwich…

What is the healthiest bread at Subway? 

There are so many stigmas around bread: Is it healthy? How many carbs are in it? Should it be avoided like the plague?

Then here you are at Subway because you wanted to make a nutritious fast food choice but are unsure what the first step should be.

We’ll go through the current bread choices available as of 2022 to determine what this Registered Dietitian‘s choice is for healthiest bread at Subway.

We’ll be doing a nutrient analysis of each and then make a determination for which should be the foundation of your lunch.

Tip: These will be key points you can use when choosing what bread to consume no matter where you are!

Bread Nutrition Facts

Bread is not your enemy. 

Being one of the oldest prepared foods, bread has long been a diet staple in this world’s history. 

However, over recent years, it’s become infamous for ruining diets and being called-out as the culprit for weight gain.

Just like almost every other food available, this primarily has to do with the type and amount that is consumed. 

When choosing “healthy bread” there are some factors that need to be taken into consideration. These are the factors that will later be discussed for Subway’s current bread selection.

But first, let’s understand the importance of each. These are things that I look for as a Registered Dietitian to determine a bread’s nutritional worth. 

Serving Size

The amount that you are eating of anything, is the #1 most important factor to keep in mind.

As far as bread, we need to rephrase the question slightly to “how many carb servings is it?”

A carb serving is the amount of food that contains about 15g of carbohydrates. This is lingo from the Diabetic Exchange List

Diabetics typically keep track of carb servings but I like to use the Diabetic Exchange List as a tool for weight loss as well, as it helps teach moderation and consistency throughout the day. 

We should aim to have no more than 3-5 carb servings per meal.

Carbohydrates are one of the easiest things to overeat, resulting in the weight gain. So if we start thinking of carbohydrates in the sense of “carb servings” it’s much easier to control your intake.

A 6” sub contains roughly 2 ½ carb servings (depending on which bread you choose, but this is a good average). 

Therefore this article will be discussing bread from Subway in their 6” form, as that is the serving size I would recommend.

I choose this serving size because you are likely to have additional carbs with your meal; if you get a side of chips and soda to drink for example.

So if you are a foot-long customer, make sure that you are doubling all the numbers you see here. But again, it’s my recommendation to just stick with the serving size of one 6” hoagie. 

Calories

Probably the most popular “nutrition fact” that people look at. 

Calories are not bad, calories are what provide us energy. It’s the calories that are consumed in excess that we don’t want, these are the calories that get converted into fat. 

Which brings me back to my previous point of why serving size matters so much. Always, take your serving size into consideration when looking at calorie content, as you may need to double or even triple the amount based on how much you are eating. 

Sticking with the 6” subs will help you stay within a good calorie range at Subway.

Of course the sandwich you build on top of that bread will also largely contribute to your total calorie count for lunch. 

Total Fat

On the Nutrition Facts Label, “Total Fat” provides the total number of grams of fat per serving of that food.

Depending on the food, the label may even break it down further showing you the types of fat, such as; saturated, trans, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. 

You can basically think of these from worst to best in the order listed above. We always want to limit our saturated fat intake while increasing our healthy-fat intake of monounsaturated fats. 

The Subway nutrition database only breaks down their total fat into saturated and trans, so we’ll just be looking at the total fat as neither of those options are the healthiest to start with anyways. 

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is similar to fat in that there are healthy and unhealthy versions of cholesterol. A normal nutrition facts label will not break down the cholesterol category however. 

Bread does not typically contain cholesterol unless it has added ingredients to it such as cheese. 

Sodium

Sodium, aka salt, is actually vital in bread as it acts as a yeast inhibitor. 

Yeast feeds on sugar and starches in bread relentlessly. Salt is needed to control this growth. A balance of salt, sugar, and yeast is necessary in all yeast-containing bread products.

So you can’t totally escape from salt in bread, that is unless you are eating an unleavened bread (product made without yeast).

Now, keep in mind that salt may be sprinkled on top of the bread to add a bit of mouthwatering goodness in every bite.

Tip: Always be mindful of your sodium intake. Excess sodium intake will cause your body to retain water, which in turn would make you weigh more. 

Fiber

Fiber is one of the most important factors that should be considered when purchasing or eating bread, but regrettably it is so often forgotten about.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both of which are crucial for a healthy balanced diet.

Soluble fiber is anything that absorbs water and swells into a gel-like mass once digested, like oatmeal for example.

Insoluble fiber is the opposite. It does not attract water, but provides indigestible bulk to help with GI functions of removing waste from the body.

An example of insoluble fiber would be the skin on an apple.

Foods usually contain a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber, but typically lean more towards one category than the other.

Fiber is important as it can help regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, improve GI function, and can help you lose weight by keeping you fuller longer.

Bread can be an excellent source of fiber…as long as you are choosing the right ones.

Any 100% whole grain bread will be your healthiest bread. This is closely followed by your whole wheat breads, and then last on the list, with little to no fiber content, are any of the white breads.

White breads have had almost all of the fiber removed (the bran and germ on the wheat kernel) leaving behind just the endosperm so that the end product has a smooth texture and mild taste.

White breads provide little to no nutrients, just calories.

And since we want everything we eat to be more nutrient-dense than calorically-dense, you are always better off choosing the “brown” breads. Especially if your goal is weight loss. 

Sugar 

As mentioned above, sugar is necessary in bread for the yeast to have something to eat in order to grow so that the bread rises. 

And just like salt, not much is needed for this reaction to take place. 

If the bread you’re consuming has a lot of “added sugars” it’s likely a specialty bread like cinnamon swirl or blueberry bread. 

Protein

The protein in bread actually originates from the wheat grain and is called gluten (you know, that thing everyone says they’re allergic to).

Gluten is a good protein source, though it is considered an incomplete protein due to it missing the essential amino acid of lysine. 

It’s always nice to get some extra protein into your sandwich before you’ve even added any meat to it.

Subway Breads as of 2022

This list contains all the breads available as of 2022, according to Subway’s nutrition database. Now keep in mind, some of these breads are only at participating locations. 

(like Jalapeno Cheddar?? I’m waiting for this option to come to my neck of the woods) 

Also, all nutrient analyses are based on 6” long subs. If you are ordering a foot long sub, be sure to double all of these values. 

Now let’s look at each to determine which comes out on top as the healthiest bread at Subway.

Artisan Flatbread

  • Calories: 220 kcals
  • Total Fat: 4 gms
  • Cholesterol: 0 mgs
  • Sodium: 360 mgs
  • Fiber: 1 gm
  • Sugar: 2 gms
  • Protein: 7 gms

The Artisan flatbread is on the higher end of calories compared to the other breads available at Subway. It also has slightly more grams of fat as well.

The sodium content lands about in the middle range of the other options, and the fiber, sugar, and protein content are all mediocre.

So not too much to say about the flatbread, it’s neither a great or bad choice.

Artisan Italian Bread

  • Calories: 160 kcals
  • Total Fat: 4 gms
  • Cholesterol: 0 mgs
  • Sodium: 360 mgs
  • Fiber: 0 gms
  • Sugar: 2 gms
  • Protein: 7 gms

So for a white bread, Subway’s Artisan Italian Bread is surprisingly not that bad; lower in calories, sodium content isn’t crazy, and it has a typical amount of sugar and protein.

Actually the Artisan Italian Bread is the lowest calorie bread available at Subway.

It’s not Subway’s healthiest bread option however, not because it’s bad but because it doesn’t provide anything good.

This is what Registered Dietitian’s refer to as “empty calories.” A food that contains little to no nutritional value, but really just calories. 

So while the Artisan Italian bread is an okay choice, it’s not the healthiest.

Italian Herbs & Cheese Bread

  • Calories: 200 kcals
  • Total Fat: 4 gms
  • Cholesterol: 10 mgs
  • Sodium: 550 mgs
  • Fiber: <1 gm
  • Sugar: 2 gms
  • Protein: 9 gms

While the Italian Herbs & Cheese Bread probably wins the award for most tastiest bread at Subway, it definitely has its pros and cons.

It’s on the higher end of calories and sodium compared to the other breads available, while providing less than even 1 gram of fiber per serving.

However, because of the cheese sprinkled on top, the Italian Herbs & Cheese bread does contain slightly more protein than the other breads already discussed. 

At the same time though, because of this cheese – the total cholesterol is also higher.

All in all, this is a bread to choose occasionally. Don’t make it your absolute go-to every time you visit this establishment.

Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

  • Calories: 190 kcals
  • Total Fat: 4 gms
  • Cholesterol: 10 mgs
  • Sodium: 470 mgs
  • Fiber: <1 gm
  • Sugar: 2 gms
  • Protein: 6 gms

The Jalapeno Cheddar bread has a similar nutrient profile to that of the Italian Herbs & Cheese bread. 

It’s higher in sodium with a miniscule amount of fiber. However, compared to the Italian Herbs & Cheese, it’s much lower in calories.

It’s also worth noting that the Jalapeno Cheddar does have one of the lowest amounts of protein per serving.

This would be another mediocre bread to choose, such as the Artisan Italian bread. 

Gluten-Free Bread

  • Calories: 340 kcals
  • Total Fat: 12 gms
  • Cholesterol: 0 mgs
  • Sodium: 790 mgs
  • Fiber: 3 gms
  • Sugar: 7 gms
  • Protein: 6 gms

Subway does offer a Gluten-Free Bread at participating locations. However, they don’t make it in-house. It’s prepared at a gluten-free facility, packaged, and sent to the restaurants. 

This Gluten-Free Bread has the most calories than any of the other breads at Subway.

This is a common find though because the necessary ingredients used to make gluten-free products typically provides additional calories.

This bread also has a very high sodium level of 790mgs, but it does have 3 gms of protein like the Hearty Multigrain Bread so it’s got something going for it at least.

Just remember that gluten-free is not always better, especially when it comes to weight loss.

Hearty Multigrain Bread

  • Calories: 190 kcals
  • Total Fat: 2 gms
  • Cholesterol: 0 mgs
  • Sodium: 310 mgs
  • Fiber: 3 gms
  • Sugar: 2 gms
  • Protein: 7 gms

Hearty is right. Subway’s Hearty Multigrain Bread is the healthiest bread at Subway. It’s low in calories and sodium while providing 3 grams of fiber. As well as a good source of protein, this bread is an excellent bread for weight loss.

Fiber isn’t the easiest thing to come by in the typical American diet, but the Multigrain Bread is a great and tasty way to incorporate it into your lunch.

Remember that fiber helps maintain good GI function, regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and help with weight loss by making you feel fuller longer, thus preventing overeating. 

As a Registered Dietitian, the Hearty Multigrain Bread is my choice for the healthiest bread at Subway as of 2022.

Conclusion for Healthiest Bread at Subway

So to wrap up, when choosing which bread is the healthiest option at Subway, consider; serving size, calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, sugar, and protein.

Or to just make it simple – pick the bread that is most brown.

“Brown” wheat products will always be the healthiest option as these will contain the most fiber compared to their “white” counterparts.

Examples would be brown rice, wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, or in this case, Subway’s Hearty Multigrain Bread.

Remember, we are going to consume calories, there’s no way around that. 

What we can control is selecting foods that are nutrient-dense calories and not empty-no value calories!

Enjoy your lunch!

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