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The Error of Sandwich

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

No matter how you slice it, there’s a pretty good chance Market Fresh sandwiches and your diet aren’t going to be a good fit.

As a sandwich connoisseur myself, I know how easy it is to be misled into thinking a certain sandwich is healthy. You know how the old song and dance goes. It has lettuce and tomatoes so it must be healthy, I reason. Or, the name has that nutritionally sound ring, much better than those fattening subs dripping in mayo. What a fool believes...

A few weeks back I mentioned my attempt to corner the nutritional numbers on Arby's new addition to their Market Fresh line of "deli-style" sandwiches. A spokesman promised I would get the info. I did... just yesterday morning it magically appeared in my email box.

Well actually, the note doesn't spell out the numbers for the new BLT sandwich. It did tell me where to go... in a nice way.

Dear Mr. McGran:
Thank you for your inquiry. As of Monday, July 15th, our website now has a section in the nutrition listings for "LTO's" -- Limited Time Only offers. The Market Fresh Ultimate BLT can be found there.
If you have any questions, or need further information, please contact me.
Courtney Batcheller
Menu & Product Development
Arby's, Inc.

So I took Courtney's advice and headed to where I found this:

The 10.5-ounce BLT has 820 calories, 49 grams of fat (11 saturated), 110mg cholesterol, 24 grams of protein, 72 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber and 1,480mg sodium.

Despite its healthy sounding name, the Market Fresh line is loaded with a lot of big numbers. Tread carefully and always check your facts BEFORE you buy!

You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve put Arby’s Market Fresh sandwiches under my proverbial fat-and-calorie microscope. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we? The year was 2001, and the Market Fresh sandwiches had just made their debut.

White bread with crust on
Slices of thick ham
Holey Swiss cheese
Lettuce, tomato, mayo...
These are a few of my favorite things!

OK, I'll shut my Von Trapp and stop singing Weird Al-like jingles about the wonders of bread and sandwich accessories.

Back in April 2001 I wrote about Arby's newest line of Market Fresh sandwiches. I love that brand name -- it makes me think of rolling farmland and roadside stands selling fresh-picked lettuce, tomatoes and onions.

As my column showed you can't judge a book by its cover nor a food by its fancy name. The heads of marketing firms get paid lots of lettuce to come up with ideas that will lure us into temptation, but not deliver the goods!

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to launch... I mean lunch on a healthy sandwich. Grab yourself a couple of slices of whole-grain bread, then fill it with a few -- I repeat: FEW -- slices of lean meat. Add cheese if you wish, but make it the light or nonfat kind if you can stomach it. Fill it out with as much lettuce, tomato and onions as you desire.

I urge you to try your culinary creation dressing-free. My taste buds can bear a naked sandwich -- yours may not. If you need some kind of dressing your best bet is good old mustard. The tangy yellow goop won't dent your diet and it can jazz up a boring sandwich.

The ruination of many a great sandwich? Mayo... heaping spoonfuls of the full-strength, full-fat egg-based topping.

Try less or better yet opt for the lighter brands or even the fat-free. I find the latter too sickeningly sweet.

So here is today's featured fare: Arby's Market Fresh Sandwiches. These deli-style delights are full of meats and cheeses... and calories and fat! Here are the actual numbers, according to the official Arby's web site (

  • The 12.7-ounce (363-gram) Roast Chicken Caesar has 820 calories, 38 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 140mg cholesterol, 43 grams of protein, 75 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and a mind-numbing 2,160mg of sodium. (Yes, this thirst-inducing sandwich provides the amount of salt recommended for an entire day!)

  • The 12.5-ounce (360-gram) Roast Beef & Swiss has 810 calories, 42 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 130mg cholesterol, 37 grams of protein, 73 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber and a parching 1,780mg of sodium.

  • The 12.5-ounce (360-gram) Roast Turkey & Swiss has 760 calories, 33 grams of fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 130mg cholesterol, 43 grams of protein, 75 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 1,920mg sodium.

  • The 12.5-ounce (360-gram) Roast Ham & Swiss has 730 calories, 34 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 125mg cholesterol, 36 grams of protein, 74 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber and 2,180mg sodium.

    It's rare that you find an entire roster of offerings without a single one being sort of healthy. The obvious culprits here are the meats and cheeses. However, three of these four sandwiches are spread with spicy brown mustard (good) and creamy mayonnaise (bad). The Roast Chicken Caesar has a "tangy Caesar sauce" on the upper and lower slices of bread!


    • Until next week, the kitchen is closed. But if you have any questions and/or comments, feel free to write me, eDiets editor-in-chief John McGran at

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