âOh, what is that?â Thatâs what my girlfriend asked the other day as I sat down with an oven-roasted chicken sandwich from Subway.
âA chicken sandwich,â I responded.
âDoesnât look like it,â she said.
Turns out she was right.
Six Grilled Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches Tested
Later that evening, we watched a report on fast-food chicken…and it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. The âoven roasted chickenâ sub Iâd eaten just hours earlier contained only 53% chicken DNA. And that wasnât even the worst offender.
The report, conducted by the Canadian âMarketplaceâ television show (a consumer advocate/protection news program), DNA-tested six popular fast-food chicken sandwiches, grilled, five of which are likely found on American menus in some capacity.
None of the chicken samples they testedâand they did multiple testsâhad 100% chicken DNA.
How Much Chicken DNA Did They Have?
Here are the products they tested…and the concerning results:
- A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe: Average 89.4% chicken DNA
- Wendyâs Grilled Chicken Sandwich: Average 88.5% chicken DNA
- Tim Hortonâs Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap: Average 86.5% chicken DNA
- McDonaldâs Country Chicken-Grilled: Average 84.9% chicken DNA
- Subway Oven Roasted Chicken: Average 53.6% chicken DNA
- Subway Sweet Onion Teriyaki (uses chicken strips): Average 42.8% chicken DNA
As you can see, none of the samples contain the 100% chicken DNA youâd expect. If you buy raw chicken from your grocery store, you expect it to be 100% chicken; why canât you have the same expectation of your fast-food chicken sandwich?
But letâs face it; in reality, being in the 80%-90% range is pretty good for, and to be expected from, fast food. Added seasonings, marinades, and processing decrease the total chicken DNA. So when these things are accounted for, most of the numbers actually make senseâexcept for Subway.
Whatâs in There Other Than Chicken?
The study found that the samples contained about an average of 16 ingredients each, basically all of which youâd find in your kitchen cupboard. For example, honey, onion powder, and other ingredients that are safe and approved for consumptionâat least in Canada (which has stricter nutrition laws than the United States).
Sodium levels, however, were seven to 10 times higher in the processed chicken than in the chicken youâd buy at the grocery store. This can increase the risk for high blood pressure and heart attack. This is definitely an ingredient to be concerned about.
Subway Chicken Subs Contain…
But what about Subway? What was in its product that caused it to have such comparably little actual meat? Tofu. And although Subway has denied the findings by Marketplace, itâs pretty tough to argue with the data. Put it this way: my girlfriend was able to spot that it wasnât chicken from across the table!
Not that thereâs anything inherently wrong with tofu…but itâs certainly not the chicken advertised.
Anyway, the best thing for you to do is to avoid fast food and opt for home-cooked chicken. Youâll get more protein, less sodium…and youâll get what you pay for: 100% chicken!
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Source for Article
Evans, P. & Szeto, E., âWhatâs in your chicken sandwich? DNA test shows Subway sandwiches could contain just 50% chicken,â CBC, February 24, 2017; http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/marketplace-chicken-fast-food-1.3993967, last accessed March 1, 2017.