Thursday, April 9, 2009

The 8 Worst Sandwiches in America (Plus 8 More You'll Love!)

Yahoo! Health

Hoagies. Heroes. Grinders. Po’boys. Sandwiches go by a lot of different names, but they’re an undeniably American food. OK, maybe we didn’t exactly invent them. Many people credit England’s Earl of Sandwich, but he probably just popularized it in the 1700s. And he did know a good thing when he saw (and ate) it. In the 300 years, we’ve done plenty to advance the art of the sandwich. Problem is, we’ve done plenty to distort sandwiches, too, turning humble creations into caloric catastrophes weighed down by careless condiments, bloated breads, and an excess of ill-chosen toppings.

A little digging into the fast food and deli domain confirmed our greatest fears: that between two slices of bread, the food industry is cramming up to a full day’s worth of calories, fat, and sodium. Sure, towering Dagwoods and hulking hoagies are some of the most egregious offenders, but even the most innocently named cold-cut creations could be quietly, steadily sabotaging your waistline.

That's why you need to know what you're consuming. Eat This, Not That! scoured the delis and the sub shops from coast to coast to come up with this list of the worst sandwiches in America. We’re not the least bit willing to give up our handheld food of choice (grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches are basically American birthrights, after all), so we’ve provided you with plenty of ways to get your fix--without mainlining calories.

Au Bon Pain Sausage, Egg and Cheddar on Asiago Bagel
810 calories
47 g fat (23 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
58 g carbs
1,540 mg sodium

A healthy breakfast sandwich can be a great start to your day—the protein-packed eggs and meat will keep you feeling fuller longer. But Au Bon Pain’s breakfast bagel isn’t what we had in mind. Cut calories by switching to bacon and Swiss there, and cut carbs by choosing an English muffin over a bagel, roll, or croissant.

Scrambled Eggs Tomato and Spinach Wrap
390 calories
15 g fat (4 g saturated)
47 g carbs
650 mg sodium

Atlanta Bread Company Turkey Bacon Rustica
960 calories
56 g fat (19 g saturated)
62 g carbs
2,480 mg sodium

Sandwiches shouldn’t top much more than 500 calories; this one gobbles up almost half your daily allowance. While it’s loaded with protein, it’s also packed with saturated fat and more than a day’s worth of sodium (the blame falls largely on the one-two punch of mayo and pesto).

Turkey on Nine Grain
370 calories
6 g fat (2 g saturated)
50 g carbs
1,240 mg sodium

Quizno’s Prime Rib Cheesesteak Sub, Large
1,490 calories
92 g fat (22.5 g saturated, 2 g trans)
102 g carbs
2,620 mg sodium

At 670 calories, even the small version of this sub is pushing the bounds of reasonable consumption. But in this big guy, you’re taking in a day’s worth of sodium, along with a day’s worth of saturated fat, and nearly a whole day’s caloric intake as well. A survival strategy for eating at Quiznos: If you’re going to order a sub, order it small and without dressing or cheese. Better yet, skip the subs altogether in favor of the more restrained Sammies. You’d be better off with two of them than with most regular-sized sandwiches at Quiznos.

Bistro Steak Melt Flatbread Sammie
280 calories
13 g fat (4 g saturated)
26 g carbs
645 mg sodium

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Grilled Chicken and Artichoke Sandwich
1,260 calories
80 g fat (17 g saturated)
71 g carbs
2,990 mg sodium

Most people know by now that grilled equals good in the world of chicken, but Romano’s somehow manages to challenge that well-established nutritional tenet. The heavy-handed Italian chain takes two reasonable foods—lean chicken and nutrient-rich artichoke—and turns them into a monster of a fat-laden sandwich that comes with almost a day-and-a-half’s worth of sodium and the caloric equivalent of 27 chicken McNuggets.

Pollo Magro
320 calories
5 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
29 g carbs
1,630 mg sodium

Chili’s Cajun Crisper Bites Sandwich
1,410 calories
79 g fat (18 g saturated)
124 g carbs
3,930 mg sodium

Words on the Chili’s menu to avoid: “Cajun” and “Crisper.” In Chili’s land, they translate to fat- and calorie-packed sauces and frying oil. Put them between two slices of bread, and you’ve got one of the worst sandwiches we’ve found on all counts—with the sodium equivalent of 120 saltine crackers and the same number of calories as you’ll find in 56 strips of bacon. Taste the same bold flavors and save more than 1,000 calories and 2,000 milligrams of sodium by opting for the Fajita Pita instead.

Fajita Pita Chicken
380 calories
12 g fat (2 g saturated)
1570 mg sodium

Blimpie Special Vegetarian 12 Inch
1,186 calories
60 g fat (19 g saturated)
131 g carbs
3,532 mg sodium

“Vegetarian” doesn’t automatically translate to “healthy” (the same holds true for salads). Sure, this sandwich has vegetables, but it’s also loaded with fatty oils and sauce, and it’s on bread that’s 12 inches long. No wonder it contains over half a day’s worth of calories and an explosion of carbs. Portion control is key to keeping weight off. Your strategy with this sandwich: Share it with a Little League team.

VeggieMax 6 Inch
522 calories
20 g fat (6 g saturated)
56 g carbs
1,272 mg sodium

Noah’s Deli Chicken Salad Sandwich
1,150 calories
95 g fat (14 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
61 g carbs
1,190 mg sodium

Don’t be fooled because it’s got the word “salad” in its name. This trans-fatty Noah’s sandwich is not a healthy choice for your arteries or your waistline.

California Chicken Sandwich
360 calories
7 g fat (2 g saturated)
49 g carbs
840 mg sodium

Quizno’s Tuna Melt, large
1,760 calories
133 g fat (25 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
92 g carbs
2,120 mg sodium

Tuna melts are scary because they sound so harmless—in almost all other forms, tuna is usually a smart and healthy choice. So what’s with the insane caloric overload? Blame the fat-packed mayo the tuna is mixed with, along with Quizno’s larger-than-life portion sizes. Even though they’ve managed to trim this melt down from the original 2,000-plus calorie mark when we first tested it, it still remains the worst sandwich we’ve found.

Sonoma Turkey Flatbread Sammie
280 calories
14 g fat (4 g saturated)
26 g carbs
760 mg sodium

We hope this list will help you sidestep diet disasters when you’re ordering out. Swaps like these can help you lose 10, 20, or 30 pounds in a year!