By Sean Zucker –
Eating a Subway sandwich has never been mistaken for gourmet dining, however, new revelations out of Ireland indicate it may worse than an occasional high-calorie quick bite. As first reported by the Irish Independent, the Irish Supreme Court has ruled the sandwich chain’s ingredients do not fall under the “statutory definition of bread.” In short, the “bread” your five-dollar footlong is made on technically, and legally in Ireland, is not bread.
Surprisingly, it seemed to be more an issue of what they were putting in their product, rather than what it was missing. The dooming additive? Sugar. According to the Irish Independent, Subway’s bread features a sugar content that is 10 percent of the weight of the flour in the dough. Under the country’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972, sugar cannot add up to more than 2 percent of the weight of the flour, indicating that Subway exceeded this limitation five-fold.
Ireland initiated these parameters to encourage healthier eating by preventing items like pastries and other sweets from being labeled as “staple foods” which are exempt from being taxed. The ruling determined even Subway’s healthier options, such as wheat or whole grain, qualified far too sweet to register.
This is a long lingering problem not just for fast food chains, but the bread industry in general. Celebrity chef, Pasquale Cozzolino, recently outlined the dilemma to WellWell. “They use sugar to carve you, get you addicted… I can barely buy any bread in the supermarket without sugar. I’m always looking and 90 percent of them are filled with sugar in the ingredients. It’s so unnecessary and harmful,” he said.
Cozzolino, who is originally from Italy, went on to ponder if this could be a determining factor in America’s obesity and diabetes problem. But his judgment is far from misplaced. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), the United States is the most obese developed nation in the world with over 36 percent of its population classifying as such. Additionally, the US has the highest rate of diabetes, with nearly 11 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 79 suffering from the disease. This amounts to roughly 30 million people, reports the International Diabetes Federation.
The celebrity chef isn’t alone in his concerns about the amount of sugar in mass-produced bread. In fact, Cooking Light warns dumping in huge amounts of it can “transform bread into a sneaky sugar bomb. For example, many whole-grain breads you can find on grocery store shelves are made with 4 to 6 grams of sugar per slice, meaning your otherwise healthy sandwich could pack an extra 12 grams, just from the bread alone!”
Simply said, sugar is not an essential ingredient to making bread no matter where it comes from, the site reported. “I would encourage people to skip the bread aisle and look for a freshly baked loaf within the in-store bakery,” Jonathan Davis, senior vice president of research and development at La Brea Bakery, told Cooking Light. “Taking a look at the ingredients is something all consumers should do before buying bread. Ingredients give consumers insight into how the bread will taste, so it’s important to know more about how the bread was made.”
It’s worth mentioning this is not the first time Subway and its ingredients have publicly come under fire. In 2014, Subway was forced to remove the flour whitening agent azodicarbonamide from its baked goods when a petition against it began circulating online. The substance is commonly used in the manufacture of yoga mats and shoes and had previously been banned by the European Union and Australia from use in food products.