Subway and Cholesterol

When Jared Fogle began appearing in television commercials for Subway in 2000, its reputation as a healthier fast food restaurant became widespread. Jared lost 245 lbs. by eating nothing but Subway sandwiches -- a six-inch turkey sub for lunch and a foot-long Veggie Delite sub for dinner, according to the Subway website. These and other sandwiches on the Subway menu are not only low-fat, but also low-cholesterol options, though not all Subway sandwiches are equally healthy.

A foot long veggie Subway sandwich on a table. (Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Cholesterol Definition

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the fats of your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. There are two types of cholesterol -- HDL and LDL. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol may help protect the body against heart disease, says the American Heart Association, while LDL cholesterol can clog arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Sources of Cholesterol

Your body makes about 75 percent of the cholesterol in your blood, according to the American Heart Association, while the other 25 percent comes from the food you eat. Cholesterol is found in animal products such as meat, cheese and eggs.

Navigating Nutrition Information

The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults consume less than 300mg of dietary cholesterol per day, and less than 200mg if you have heart disease. When determining whether a menu item is bad for your cholesterol, look at more than just the dietary cholesterol number though. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the types of fat you consume may increase your levels of LDL cholesterol even more than dietary cholesterol. Saturated fats and trans fats increase your LDL cholesterol. Trans fats decrease your HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol.

High-Cholesterol Items

Subway's sandwiches with the most dietary cholesterol are its breakfast sandwiches; Big Philly Cheesesteak; Chicken and Bacon Ranch; Cold Cut Combo; Italian B.M.T.; Spicy Italian; Meatball Marinara; and Steak and Cheese subs. Most of them contain trans fats and a large portion of saturated fat. The foot-long versions of these subs contain as much or more cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fats than a Big Mac at McDonald's. Foot-long breakfast sandwiches at Subway, such as the Sausage and Cheese, contain nearly three times the cholesterol of a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese at McDonald's.

Lower Cholesterol Options

Subway's salads, and the six-inch sub sandwiches with six grams of fat or less are relatively low in cholesterol, with the exception of the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki and the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast.

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