What if we told you that sandwich you packed for lunch really isn’t so great for you after all. That’s right, despite all the veggies you may layer between both pillow-soft slices of bead, your sandwich may be doing you more bad than good.
A recent study published in the journal Public Health looked at how eating a sandwich can impact a person’s diet in a day. More specifically, their findings exposed that ‘healthy’ sandwich for what it really is: junk food. The study looked at 27,075 adults who had to recall what they ate in 24 hours on two separate occasions. Surprisingly, those who ate one sandwich in a day added 7 g of fat, 270 mg of sodium and 3 g of sugar into their average dietary intake.
“Be cautious about energy, fat, and sodium intake from sandwich consumption,” said Ruopeng An, one of the lead authors of the study. When you eat a sandwich, it’s easy to forget how much food is actually inside of it–and that means you’re more likely to overeat.
“A lot of the individual items people put on a sandwich can be healthy independently but you’re packing so much food into so little volume, so it’s easy to overeat and not account for how much food is in there,” said dietitian Susan Macfarlane.
But this doesn’t mean that we have to quit eating sandwiches; we just need to be realistic about making healthier choices when constructing one. For instance, you can try cutting out processed meats. Most people fill their sandwiches with packaged meats that require almost zero prep time like cold cuts and bacon. It’s no surprise that sandwiches are unhealthy when these meats are overloaded with salt.
Ruopeng An goes on to suggest a few other ways to actually eat a healthy sandwich: “Whenever possible, make your own sandwich rather than buying from a store as you have more control over what are included in your sandwich; add more leafy veggies but less meat in your sandwich; choose whole wheat bread with no added salt; do not add processed meat in your sandwich which is typically high in fat and sodium; forgo dressings if possible and drink plain water rather than sugar drinks together with your sandwich.”
Looks like we’re one step closer to building a healthier sandwich.
WATCH: Another ‘healthy’ food that isn’t always as good for you as you might think? Salads.