Here's Why This Quiznos Salad Is So Concerning

Quiznos is best known for its sandwiches (and for those horribly creepy Spongmonkeys, an ad campaign so ill-advised that it may have contributed to the chain's subsequent struggles), but like most other fast food establishments in this health-conscious age, it also offers a range of salad selections. While Sue Heikkinen, the Head Registered Dietitian with MyNetDiary, thinks it's overall a good thing that "the days of fast food salads consisting of wilted iceberg lettuce topped with an anemic tomato are largely a thing of the past," she warns "Don't assume that a menu item labeled as a "salad" is the healthiest or lowest-calorie choice."

One menu item at Quiznos that she warns you should steer clear of is the Italian salad, something Quiznos' menu reveals to be a tasty-sounding concoction of romaine lettuce, pepperoni, salami, ham, capicola, tomato, provolone cheese, red onion, black olives, banana peppers, and red wine vinaigrette. Basically the Classic Italian sub, only minus the sub roll. So what's wrong with it? In an interview with Mashed, Heikkinen explains that it's quite the nutritional nightmare.

Why the Italian Salad is so bad for you

Heikkinen's top concern regarding this salad is its sodium level. A full-size salad contains 2230 mg of sodium, which, she points out, is "just shy of the recommended Daily Value of 2300 mg," adding "if you are watching your blood pressure, this is not the choice for you." She also notes that the 700 calories it contains are a higher amount than that of the 8-inch Turkey Ranch and Swiss sub at 670 calories. A glance at Quiznos menu also shows three more 8-inch subs with a lower calorie count: the Spicy Monterey at 600, the Tuna Melt at 660, and the Lobster & Seafood Salad at 610. This salad does, however, have fewer calories than an 8-inch classic Italian sub at 890 calories.

An additional worry that Heikkinen has about this salad (something that would apply to its sandwich version, too) is the fact that it contains four different nitrite-laden cured meats. She says that eating such a large quantity of such meats would go against the American Institute for Cancer Research guidelines to limit consumption due to increased risk of colorectal cancer. According to the AICR, every 50 grams of processed meat you eat increases your cancer risk by 16 percent.

If you still want a Quiznos salad, Heikkinen recommends that you "choose the Apple Harvest Salad instead," explaining that "this crunchy, flavorful salad is a mere 500 mg sodium and 520 calories." Plus, it contains chicken rather than cured meat.