The Reason You Should Avoid Arby's French Dip

Arby's French Dip, which consists of roast beef and Swiss cheese sandwiched between two slabs of ciabatta bread with a sauce container to dip the whole menu item in, appears to enjoy a good amount of popularity with the fan base. Wide Open Eats even suggests a secret menu version of the French Dip called the French Dip Max, which really is just the French Dip but with double the roast beef.

However, in keeping with Arby's antipathy for anything that seems even remotely healthy, the French Dip they serve is absolutely terrible for you. On their website, they list the sodium content for the French Dip as 2,550 milligrams per sandwich. This exceeds the upper limit of 2,300 milligrams per day recommended by the American Heart Association, and adds more than a third to the ideal sodium intake of 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Consistently consuming too much sodium can, as they explain in an infographic, can lead to heart disease and strokes — and you exceed that safe limit with just one sandwich.

We have the sodium

Every piece Mashed publishes about the health aspects of fast food seems to focus on sodium. Obviously, sodium isn't good for you, but it would be unfair to penalize only the fast food industry for including too much sodium in their foods, even though they do.

As Slate reported as far back as 2013, the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day because companies that make processed foods realize that salt addicts us. Another theory is that the additional salt is needed because packaged food would taste bland without it. Either way, studies repeatedly found the more salt one consumes, the more wants to consume salt later on.

Still, as Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC in 2017, explained to NPR, even without the addiction, people have little choice in the matter. "It's very difficult for individuals to lower consumption on their own, because there's so much sodium in everything they eat," he explained. Companies may be loath to reduce their sodium content as it keeps their consumers hooked, but the only way to ween the consumer base off of such unhealthy levels of sodium consumption would be, it seems, an industry wide regulation on sodium. Then, Arby's French Dip may seem less like a treat and more like an imposition.