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Peter May

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Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Peter May » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:20 am

I don't know whether this made the US papers with all that is going on there at the moment.

The Irish Supreme Court ruled that, because the bread used by Subway had five times the amount of sugar, it couldn't claim tax free status as a staple, and thus its sandwiches were not 'food'.

The five-judge court ruled the bread falls outside that statutory definition because it has a sugar content of 10 per cent of the weight of the flour included in the dough.
The Act provides the weight of ingredients such as sugar, fat and bread improver shall not exceed 2 per cent of the weight of flour in the dough.
The clear intention of the detailed definition of “bread” in the Act was to distinguish between bread as a “staple” food, which should be zero per cent rated, and certain other baked goods made from dough, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell said.


https://www.irishtimes.com/business/agr ... -1.4367663
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Robin Garr » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:52 am

Peter, I saw the report, although in this modern world, it may have been in The Guardian online. :)

To be honest, I think much of the U.S. fast-food industry is based on the hypothesis that "A little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down." McDonald's has been zinged for sugaring its french fries to make them addictive. I expect just about every fast-food bun has as much sugar as Subways. But sadly, with the possible exception of California, I don't see the American courts challenging the industry's right to use as much sugar/HFCS as they like in the pursuit of profit.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Peter May » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:52 am

Robin Garr wrote:Peter, I saw the report, although in this modern world, it may have been in The Guardian online. :)


Yes, I read it in The Guardian - it was in most (all?) the British papers but I thought I should link to an Irish source.

We've got two Subways in the centre of Snorbens and another one in a separate small shopping area, but I've only had a Subway sandwich once, that was when working in Austin TX and the people I was with went there to get lunch. I didn't like queueing up and waiting to get a sandwich. I prefer Pret a Manger in the UK which has ready-made ready-to-go packed sandwiches and you can be in and out in a minute.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Larry Greenly » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:32 am

It was covered on mainstream newscasts here.

I had a late friend who always said that Subway sandwiches were carby. Now I know why.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jenise » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:33 am

I saw the article as well. Made me laugh out loud. I have probably been to a subway twice--both times while travelling to some place where it was the only thing open and I was hungry. I remember the sweetness of the bread--definitely not appealing. I've oft remarked that if you were to show me Subway's business plan back before they were successful (in fact, the most successful franchise in America) I'd have told you "that will never work". See what I know.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jenise » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:36 am

And speaking of fast food sandwiches, we are getting commercials here for a chain called Jersey Mike's. They make me laugh out loud as they stack up the meats and vegetables, ending with a roof of tomato slices and only then do they apply oil and vinegar which sprays up off the tomatoes "like a cow peeing on a flat rock" as my husband put it. No more than about 5% of it would actually end up in the sandwich. I can't understand the marketing there.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jeff Grossman » Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:23 pm

Yes, Peter, it made its way to my desktop. I was amused at first but now you've shown me why it was important.

I have eaten at Subway many times. It is often advantageous over other fast-food choices because they gladly heap up the salad fixings. The bread is not good bread - it's like having your sandwich on a flabby pastry - but that's a small price to pay when the alternative is McD, BK, etc.

Americans are famous for having sugary food. Everyone knows it and everyone does it. There are US-specific recipes for Coke and Pepsi, Nutella, Guinness, and many more.

ETA: Also, the craze for fat-free foods has led to an uptick in sugar consumption... if there isn't fat in the food, you add sugar to give it some flavor. At least, that's how the multi-nationals think. I recall a friend who wanted to reduce his fat intake at all costs. He ended up eating a lot of meringue - it's crisp, it has flavor, it has no fat. And it's practically pure sugar.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Paul Winalski » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:18 pm

The Subway bread story was in the news broadcasts here. My favorite comment was on the NPR comedy news quiz program "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". One of the comedians on the panel quipped, "It isn't bread--it's more of an improv on bread."

Being a Mets fan in central Connecticut, I watched the games on a New York TV station and I used to see Subway commercials back when it was just a NYC phenomenon. Their schtick was that each store baked their own bread. When Subway got to New England, I ate there a couple of times. The cold cuts and vegetables in the sandwich were OK, but the bread was horrible. It didn't strike me as sweet (this was the 1970s), but it was more like Wonder Bread than a proper sub sandwich roll. I went back to the local grinder shops for my Italian-type sandwiches. Like Jenise, I'd not eat at a Subway unless there was no alternative.

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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jo Ann Henderson » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:32 am

I don't like the mouth feel of what passes as bread on most commercially prepared sandwiches. It's fluffy texture alone is enough for me to stop eating (unless I'm totally famished - then I will remove the top of one piece and eat the rest open-faced, just using the bottom as a vehicle). But lots of things have upped the sugar content. I don't much care for carrots any more because they seem to have been bred for sugar content, also some corn. What is it about sugar that the entire food industry finds it an essential ingredient?
"...To undersalt deliberately in the name of dietary chic is to omit from the music of cookery the indispensable bass line over which all tastes and smells form their harmonies." -- Robert Farrar Capon
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Larry Greenly » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:03 am

Bread is what makes or breaks a Philly cheesesteak. Some years ago a local shop made okay Phillys, but he made his own rolls. Big mistake. They were crumbly and fell apart and so did his business.

Jersey Mike's philly steaks are not bad, but once again, it's the roll. They use what they use for subs.

The best philly steak here is at Philly Steaks, run by a guy from South Philly. The roll is closer, but not quite the same as the rolls made in a Pennsylvania bakery that supplies the philly steak shops on the east coast. The PA rolls have a little bit of chew.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:40 am

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:What is it about sugar that the entire food industry finds it an essential ingredient?

I think it's because the food industry does focus groups -- do you like this ear better than this ear? is this soda better than that soda?

I think most people admit to a sweet tooth and, taken out of context, sure, a sweeter one will be preferred. But they didn't ask the really important question: which one would you like to eat a lot of?
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:45 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:
Jo Ann Henderson wrote:What is it about sugar that the entire food industry finds it an essential ingredient?

I think it's because the food industry does focus groups -- do you like this ear better than this ear? is this soda better than that soda?

I think most people admit to a sweet tooth and, taken out of context, sure, a sweeter one will be preferred. But they didn't ask the really important question: which one would you like to eat a lot of?


I would add that sugar is addictive, and the food industry knows it. Sweeten your food, people will eat more and come back for more. And obesity and diabetes stats are going through the roof. Americans used to be a lot skinner (or maybe better, less fat). We just did.

Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults from the National Center for Health Statistics’ reports, which are published every three years.

1976-1980

> Average weight of adult men: 172.2 pounds
> Average weight of adult women: 144.2 pounds
> Average BMI of adult men: 25.3
> Average BMI of adult women: 25.0

1988-1994

> Average weight of adult men: 180.7 pounds
> Average weight of adult women: 152.3 pounds
> Average BMI of adult men: 26.6
> Average BMI of adult women: 26.5

1999-2002

> Average weight of adult men: 190.4 pounds
> Average weight of adult women: 163.3 pounds
> Average BMI of adult men: 27.8
> Average BMI of adult women: 28.2

2003-2006

> Average weight of adult men: 194.7 pounds
> Average weight of adult women: 164.7 pounds
> Average BMI of adult men: 28.4
> Average BMI of adult women: 28.4

2007-2010

> Average weight of adult men: 195.5 pounds
> Average weight of adult women: 166.2 pounds
> Average BMI of adult men: 28.6
> Average BMI of adult women: 28.7

2011-2014

> Average weight of adult men: 195.7 pounds
> Average weight of adult women: 168.5 pounds
> Average BMI of adult men: 28.7
> Average BMI of adult women: 29.2
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Paul Winalski » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:45 pm

Regarding the weight and BMI stats--people have always tended to put on weight as they grow older (the so-called "middle-age spread"). How much of those stats is simply due to the ageing of the Baby Boomers? What do you see when you control for age?

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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:01 pm

I can't cite stats, Paul, but those numbers are certainly consistent with a broad narrative of a fattening America. Don't Millennials outnumber Boomers now? We're dying off fast, eeeeeeeekkkk
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:04 pm

This chart shows an average weight gain among both youth and adults since 1999, although of course the adults are heavier. I'd love to see a similar study back to the '60s or '70s. I'm reasonably sure it would show ballooning up at all ages.

https://www.statista.com/chart/11497/am ... than-ever/
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Larry Greenly » Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:17 pm

You can place a lot of blame on sugar for fattening (and cholesterol and other problems), which is in everything, including Morton salt.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:58 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:You can place a lot of blame on sugar for fattening (and cholesterol and other problems), which is in everything, including Morton salt.

It is my understanding that the amount of sugar in salt is extremely small and is there only to prevent the iodide from becoming iodine. (Iodine has a bitter taste and people would stop using the salt, which defeats the purpose of putting the nutrient in there in the first place.)
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Larry Greenly » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:49 pm

Yes, it's there in an extremely small amount to stabilize the iodine salt (roughly 200 mcg/tsp, but it's still there, which is why I used it for a not well-known example. More well-known is McD's french fries. Read labels, and it seems sugar, in one guise or another, is in just about anything. :mrgreen:
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:06 am

Larry Greenly wrote:Yes, it's there in an extremely small amount to stabilize the iodine salt (roughly 200 mcg/tsp, but it's still there, which is why I used it for a not well-known example.

The topic is sugar in amounts that are fattening / addictive / unnecessary. The couple grains of dextrose in salt do not meet any of these criteria. It is unexpected, indeed, but it is not engendering obesity.
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Paul Winalski » Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:08 am

The other reason Morton salt adds a bit of sugar is to prevent the salt from caking in damp weather. They were innovators in that area. Their trademark slogan is still "when it rains, it pours".

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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Peter May » Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:48 am

I know - have experienced - sugar in US foods that I wouldn't expect to find it in, but this was in Ireland. The (non) bread is made there. I would have assumed they would have produced normal bread. Now they have to or charge more to cover tax :)

Today news about sugar in food in UK.

The food industry has cut out only 3% of sugar from supermarket, cafe and restaurant products over the last three years, according to a damning report from Public Health England that has triggered calls for taxes or other compulsory measures to be introduced.

PHE launched its flagship sugar reduction programme in 2016 with a mission to help reduce childhood obesity levels by introducing a voluntary target for the food industry to remove 20% of sugar by 2020. But the third year of data, gathered before the coronavirus outbreak – suggests the target is unattainable without a “big stick” such as taxation.

A levy on sugar in soft drinks has been a success, however. The PHE report says sugar levels in lemonades, colas and other soft drinks have fallen by 44% since 2015, with many companies taking out sugar to avoid the tax


https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... -phe-finds
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:07 am

Paul Winalski wrote:The other reason Morton salt adds a bit of sugar is to prevent the salt from caking in damp weather. They were innovators in that area. Their trademark slogan is still "when it rains, it pours".

I thought that's what the calcium silicate was for?
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:09 am

Peter May wrote:Today news about sugar in food in UK.

The food industry has cut out only 3% of sugar from supermarket, cafe and restaurant products over the last three years, according to a damning report from Public Health England that has triggered calls for taxes or other compulsory measures to be introduced.
...
A levy on sugar in soft drinks has been a success, however. The PHE report says sugar levels in lemonades, colas and other soft drinks have fallen by 44% since 2015, with many companies taking out sugar to avoid the tax

Yup. Hit 'em in the pocketbook, because their conscience is too small a target. :twisted:
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Re: Subway sandwiches 'are not bread'

by Larry Greenly » Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:43 am

Paul Winalski wrote:The other reason Morton salt adds a bit of sugar is to prevent the salt from caking in damp weather. They were innovators in that area. Their trademark slogan is still "when it rains, it pours".

-Paul W.


Actually, FWI, Morton's adds yellow prussiate of sodium for the anti-caking properties of its salt.
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