Italian beef sandwiches are commonly found in the Chicago area, sold at restaurants including Portillo's and other sandwich shops. The typical sandwich comprises a thick white bread bun, with hot spicy sliced beef, au jus sauce, melted mozzarella, peppers and giardiniera. The nutritional information for a typical Italian beef sandwich vary according to the overall portion size, and the proportion and quality of ingredients used.
As of 2011, an Italian beef sandwich from Chicago restaurant chain Portillo's contains 47.1 g of protein, 60 g of carbohydrates, 27.6 g of fat and 451 calories. Saturated fat makes up 10.9 g of the total; monounsaturated fat represents 12 g and polyunsaturated fat makes up 1 g of the total fat content. An Italian beef sandwich contains 350 mg of sodium, 730 mg of the mineral potassium and 140 mg of cholesterol.
An Italian beef sandwich is a rich source of protein, providing 94 percent of the average healthy adult's daily protein needs. Additionally, a single Italian beef sandwich provides you with 21 percent of your daily potassium requirement. The sandwich's sodium content is not particularly high, as Italian beef is a freshly-prepared food. A small but significant amount of dietary fiber -- 3 g, or 12 percent of the recommended daily intake -- is contained in every Italian beef sandwich.
The potential health dangers associated with regular consumption of Italian beef sandwiches stem mainly from their high fat content. Each sandwich contains 140 mg of cholesterol, which is almost half of the recommended maximum daily intake for a healthy adult. The overall fat content of a single Italian beef sandwich -- and the saturated fat content -- are both around half of the suggested daily maximum intake. Italian beef sandwiches as a regular part of your diet could lead you to exceed the maximum daily recommended intake of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, all of which can have negative ramifications for your health.
The nutritional data for a standard Portillo's-recipe Italian beef sandwich are only given as a guide to this representative sandwich composition and size. Sandwiches larger than Portillo's standard size will likely have higher values for every nutritional component. Additionally, the proportions of the ingredients used in the sandwich will alter the nutritional data. If you want a lower-fat Italian beef, you could reduce or eliminate the mozzarella from the sandwich, and reduce the overall amount of beef and au jus.