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Another reason to give Subway more scrutiny

 PHOTO: Jared Fogle, former Subway pitchman, in happier days.  |  CHUCK ROBINSON~AP

Back in my old days as Food editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, people were always stopping by with food they wanted me to taste.

Trust me, it sounds like a great thing, people just popping up with food for you. But not everything you are offered is something you want to eat then, or ever. (Biscotti. I always was happy to see biscotti.)

One day the receptionist called to say Jared Fogle was in the lobby. Jared! And he had a whole tray of Subway sandwiches for me! (She was quite excited; it was at the beginning of his time as Subway spokesman.)

I didn’t say it to her, but I did think: Oh, no, please don’t make me eat one of those sandwiches.

I went out to the lobby and had a polite, if short, chat with Jared. He was carrying around a pair of jeans he said he fit into before embarking on his diet of primarily Subway sandwiches while in college. (He reportedly lost 245 pounds and went from 425 pounds to 180.) Those were some big jeans, and the man before me that day was a good weight for his 6-foot-2-inch frame.

But I still wasn’t going to eat one of those sandwiches. I begged off eating one (said something like I wasn’t hungry just then), thanked him for the tray and later left it out for my grateful co-workers (most journalists will eat anything if it’s free).

While everyone’s attention is on Subway because of the arrest of its longtime pitchman on such shocking sex charges, I say pay attention to those lousy sandwiches too, will ya?  

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I have never walked past a Subway and thought, boy, does that place smell good. And to me, there’s a real problem when a place serving food doesn’t give off an appealing scent.

I get a whiff of  an unpleasant aroma when I am in a Subway. I’m not saying they’re dirty; quite the opposite, since the stores always are clean and orderly. Yet the only way I can describe it is they give off a scent that is just not quite real.

I never thought Subway lived up to its reputation of fresh and healthy. I have never seen anyone in a Subway slicing meat, the way they do at a deli counter; never saw anyone chopping up a pepper. That bugged me. And don’t get me started on that bread. (As a teen, my kid used to like Subway. When he moved into an apartment and started paying his own bills, he started making his own sandwiches, and told me: do you know how cheap and easy it is to make your own sandwich? Why yes, I do, but I bit my tongue rather than reply: that’s what I’ve been telling you all these years!)

Its plan to get rid of all artificial preservatives, flavors and colors from the food on its menu over the next two years tells me the chain realizes that, too.

I’ve never liked that “The Biggest Loser” pushes Subway on its contestants as a healthful meal option. Maybe Jared’s fall from grace will be the end of that.

Jared was supposed to be the real-life example of how eating Subway sandwiches can keep you at a good weight. Look at those photos from his arrest and you’ll notice he’s touting quite an expanded waistline. Either eating those sandwiches doesn’t keep you thin or maintaining a diet of mainly just them for a long time isn’t realistic.

JAREDFOGLECHARLIENYEINDYSTARVIAAP

 

A much heavier, Jared Fogle, while under investigation last month.  |  CHARLIE NYE~INDIANAPOLIS STAR VIA AP

Make your own sandwich, folks. You’ll see just like my son it is easier, cheaper and healthier than stopping at Subway.