It turns out that teenagers eating at Subway might be only marginally healthier than those chowing down at competing McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD).
In a study — published in the Journal of Adolescent Health — researchers found there is little that’s healthier about eating at Subway.
Researchers had 97 kids — age 12 to 21 — purchase meals at both McDonald’s and Subway and used their receipts to track what was eaten.
“We found that there was no statistically significant difference between the two restaurants, and that participants ate too many calories at both,” said Dr. Lenard Lesser, who led the team.
The average amount of calories in the meals from McDonald’s was 1,038, while the number for Subway was 955. The average adolescent should consume about 2,400 calories per day.
Subway sandwiches were higher in calories (784) than McDonald’s (572). However, McDonald’s lost ground on the side items — the average side at McDonald’s had 201 calories while Subway’s average side had 35. In total, the average McDonald’s meal was 1,038 calories vs. 955 at Subway.
In addition, sodium intake was higher at Subway, with an average meal delivering 2,149 mg.
“The nutrient profile at Subway was slightly healthier, but the food still contained three times the amount of salt that the Institute of Medicine recommends,” Lesser said.