March 22, 1995 in Nation/World

Sandwiches A Healthy Snack? Fat Chance

Knight-Ridder
 
Tags:fatfood

The people who warned about killer Kung Pao chicken, pudge-producing popcorn and tortilla terror have a new target: the all-American sandwich.

Sandwiches, they say, are piled high with arteryclogging fat.

And not just the Reuben and the greasy grilled cheese sandwich, which ranked one and two for dripping with saturated fat, according to a study released Tuesday by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Among the worst fat offenders were the vegetarian sandwich and the classic tuna. In fact, a tuna salad sandwich has so much fat you might as well eat 80 potato chips instead.

“People tend to think of a sandwich as just a bite to eat, but many shops are giving you a dinner’s worth of fat and calories,” said Jayne Hurley, a CSPI nutritionist who analyzed 170 sandwiches from Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago delis and Subway shops to come up with the study’s fat findings.

A classic tuna salad sandwich has nine times the fat as CSPI’s grudging winner: a turkey sandwich made with mustard. But switch the mustard with a gob of mayo and the fat triples from six grams to 19.

“Tuna salad was certainly one of the killer sandwiches, which is a surprise because ‘tuna’ and ‘salad’ are two words that sound healthy,” Hurley said. “Tuna itself is fat free, but it’s drowning in one-third cup of mayonnaise. That’s the equivalent of three McDonald’s quarter pounders, fat-wise.”

In a vegetarian sandwich, it’s not the cukes, tomatoes and sprouts, it’s the avocado and cheese that make it a “fat trap.” With all the trimmings, the vegetarian has three times the saturated fat of a roast beef sandwich.

Chicken salad is no better. The total fat in this would-be dieter’s delight is about the same as two large orders of McDonald’s fries. Dieters are likely to be distressed by another CSPI finding: most sandwiches tested actually had twice the calories that are listed in most calorie-counting books.

As for a spicy Italian sub, according to CSPI’s upcoming Nutrition Action Healthletter, “you could just eat a third of a stick of butter on a roll” instead. Yuk.

Ditto for corned beef, ham and cheese and the turkey club. A single egg salad sandwich, a standard of days gone by, has as much fat as three Egg McMuffins, more calories than a Dairy Queen banana split and enough cholesterol to last two days.

Although CSPI didn’t look at the American icon, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Hurley said every tablespoon has about 8 grams of fat, only slightly less than a hamburger.

But the CSPI study does throw sandwich lovers a lifeline: Hold the mayo.

One tablespoon of mayonnaise is loaded with 11 grams of fat and 100 calories, Hurley said.

xxxx Hold the Mayo The Center for Science in the Public Interest analyzed these 12 sandwiches for fat, saturated fat and sodium. The Food and Drug Administration recommends daily limits of 65 grams total fat, 20 grams saturated fat and 2,400 milligrams sodium. Turkey with mustard: 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 1,407 mg sodium. Roast beef with mustard: 12 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 993 mg sodium. Chicken salad: 32 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 1,136 mg sodium. Corned beef with mustard: 20 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 1,924 mg sodium. Tuna salad: 43 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 1,319 mg sodium. Ham with mustard: 27 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 2,344 mg sodium. Egg salad: 31 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 1,110 mg sodium. Turkey club: 34 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 1,843 mg sodium. BLT: 37 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 1,555 mg sodium. Vegetarian: 40 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 1,276 mg sodium. Grilled cheese: 33 grams fat; 17 grams saturated fat; 1,543 mg sodium. Reuben: 50 grams fat; 20 grams saturated fat; 3,268 mg sodium.

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