How Is Subway So Low in Calories?

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Subway, a popular fast-food chain known for its customizable sandwiches and salads, has managed to carve out a niche for itself in the health-conscious segment of the market. One of the key questions that often arise is – How is Subway so low in calories? This article will delve into the ingredients, portion control, preparation methods, and nutritional standards that contribute to the lower calorie count of Subway meals.


Subway manages to keep their meals low in calories through the use of fresh ingredients and lean meats, controlled portion sizes, and a customizable menu that allows customers to opt for healthier choices. Their strict nutritional standards and guidelines also ensure that many of their offerings are 600 calories or less. However, it’s essential to consider the overall nutritional value and not just the calorie count.

Fresh Ingredients and Lean Meats

Subway’s commitment to fresh ingredients and lean meats plays a significant role in its lower calorie offerings. Sandwiches like the Veggie Delite, Turkey Breast, and Black Forest Ham are some of the lowest calorie options, thanks to their use of fresh vegetables and lean protein.

For instance, the Veggie Delite sandwich on multigrain bread contains only 230 calories, while the Turkey Breast sandwich has 280 calories. Subway also offers a variety of low-calorie sauces like red wine vinegar (0 calories), buffalo sauce (10 calories), and yellow mustard (20 calories) that add flavor without significantly increasing the calorie count.

Portion Control

Subway’s portion control is a key factor in maintaining lower calorie counts. The chain offers a variety of bread options that range from 190 to 240 calories for a 6-inch sandwich, which is relatively low compared to other fast-food options. Moreover, most of the vegetable toppings at Subway are low in calories, allowing you to add them to your sandwich without significantly increasing the calorie count.

Customizable Menu

One of the standout features of Subway is its customizable menu. The ability to choose from a variety of bread, protein, vegetables, and sauces allows customers to create a low-calorie and nutritious meal. For example, choosing a salad instead of a sandwich can significantly reduce the calorie count, as salads usually have fewer calories and carbs.

Nutritional Standards and Guidelines

Subway’s nutritional standards and guidelines ensure low-calorie options by offering a variety of customizable sandwiches, salads, and toppings. Many of their standard 6-inch subs, flatbreads, and salads are 600 calories or less, with several options under 400 calories. Subway provides detailed nutritional information, including calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and other nutrients for their sandwiches, salads, and other menu items.

Comparison with Other Fast-Food Chains

When compared to similar options at other fast-food chains, Subway sandwiches tend to have more vegetables and slightly healthier nutrient profiles. A study comparing Subway and McDonald’s found that the total meal calories were similar, with 955 calories at Subway and 1,038 calories at McDonald’s. However, Subway meals generally have more protein and less sugar than McDonald’s meals.


In conclusion, Subway’s low-calorie offerings can be attributed to the use of fresh, low-calorie ingredients, controlled portions, a customizable menu, and strict nutritional standards and guidelines. By making informed choices, customers can enjoy a nutritious, low-calorie meal at Subway. However, it’s important to remember that while Subway offers healthier alternatives compared to many fast-food chains, maintaining a balanced diet involves more than just counting calories. It’s always important to consider the overall nutritional value of your meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the low-calorie bread options at Subway?

Some of the low-calorie bread options at Subway include the 9-Grain Wheat bread, the Multigrain Flatbread, and the Italian (White) bread. Each of these options contains less than 250 calories per 6-inch sandwich.

What other low-calorie sauces does Subway offer?

Besides the red wine vinegar, buffalo sauce, and yellow mustard, Subway also offers other low-calorie sauces like Subway Vinaigrette (40 calories), Sweet Onion Sauce (40 calories), and Light Mayonnaise (50 calories).

Does Subway offer any low-calorie wraps or salads?

Yes, Subway offers several low-calorie options in their wraps and salads. The Veggie Delite salad, for instance, has only 60 calories, while the Turkey Breast salad has 110 calories. The Spinach wrap is also a good low-calorie option, with 290 calories.

How does Subway’s calorie count compare to other sandwich chains?

Subway’s calorie count tends to be lower than many other sandwich chains. For instance, a 6-inch Turkey Breast sandwich at Subway has 280 calories, while a comparable sandwich at other chains can often have over 350 calories.

Are all Subway sandwiches low in calories?

While Subway offers a variety of low-calorie options, not all of their sandwiches are low in calories. Some of their sandwiches, especially those with higher-fat meats or sauces, can be higher in calories. It’s always a good idea to check the nutritional information before ordering.

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