The Most Nutritious Bread Options At Subway

When considering quick eats, a Subway sandwich can seem like a more nutritious decision than other fast food. With fresh vegetables and bread baked in-house, the menu options at Subway appear to offer a wider variety of wholesome options. But if beneficial ingredients are what's under consideration, it's important to take a closer look at the company's bread.

Subway's current menu data sheet lists five main bread options: artisan Italian, artisan flatbread, hearty multigrain, Italian herbs and cheese, and a wrap. There are also three available at select regional locations: jalapeño cheddar, Monterey cheddar, and parmesan oregano, with occasional seasonal and limited-time specialties as well. Subway lists its six-inch sandwiches as one serving — but you can double the values for a footlong.

Determining which is the most nutritious is tricky. If we're to measure by calorie count, then the lowest options are the artisan Italian and multigrain breads — 200 calories per serving. If the sodium content is a factor, then these same two options also come in lower than the rest with 360 milligrams each — while the wrap has the highest amount at 580 milligrams. On the other hand, we can measure vitamin levels like vitamin C, where both the artisan flatbread and wrap have 0% of the daily value (DV) while both the multigrain and jalapeño cheddar provide 10%. But if you want the highest fiber and most minerals, the hearty multigrain and jalapeño cheddar have the most — but not by much.

The nutritional makeup of Subway sandwich bread

This dichotomy continues the deeper we dive into the dietary components. For fat, Subway's artisan Italian and multigrain breads are on the lower end with two grams each while the wrap has the most at eight grams. The jalapeño cheddar contains five milligrams of cholesterol, and this is doubled in the Italian herbs and cheese with 10 milligrams — the rest have zero. Carbohydrates in the multigrain are 36 grams and the artisan Italian and jalapeño cheddar both have 37 grams. The wrap ranks highest with 50 grams. 

The fiber count for all is low, ranging from one to three grams. All the breads also have naturally occurring sugar as well as added sugar. The artisan flatbread has two grams of each, and the multigrain is on the higher side with four grams of sugar and three grams of added sugar. Both artisan breads come in at seven grams of protein, the wrap has eight grams, and the others all have nine grams.

To measure which is more nutritious, we can also look at which other vitamins and minerals are present. The only breads that have vitamin A are the Italian herbs and cheese and the jalapeño cheddar, each with 4% DV. There's zero calcium in the artisan flatbread, 6% DV in the wrap, and 8% DV in the artisan Italian. Iron is present in the artisan flatbread and wrap at 15% DV while all the other breads contain 10% DV.

Gluten-free bread, vegan options, and cake

Sugar plays a unique role in the sandwich chain's breads. In fact, it may be responsible for what's behind the Subway bread smell. When Food Republic spoke with the company's "Global Baking Technologist" about the well-known aroma, it was suggested that the sugar's caramelization during the baking process is part of the distinct scent that wafts from the franchise's stores.

In a bittersweet twist on Subway's bread sugar content, a court in Ireland ruled that there's so much sugar in it that it cannot qualify as bread, but rather, is closer to cake. This came about due to the country's tax laws, which allow for staple foods (like bread, tea, coffee, milk, meat, and eggs) to be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT). To qualify for the bread exemption, Irish law allows for up to 2% of flour's weight to consist of sugar. Subway's measured at 10%, deeming it neither bread nor tax exempt.

As for allergens and special diets, there are only two bread options that are 100% vegan — the artisan Italian (the brand's version of white bread) and the hearty multigrain. The artisan flatbread ingredients do not name any animal products; however, it is noted that it may contain milk. All the currently available breads contain soy or soy-derived ingredients. And if you're looking for gluten-free bread at Subway, you're out of luck. While a GF option had been available at select Subways since 2011, it has been discontinued as of 2023.