Why sandwiches are sabotaging your diet

They seem harmless enough; two slices of bread, some meat, lettuce, tomato, and your condiment of choice, but sandwiches aren’t as healthy as you think, and if you eat one (or more) a day, they might be the reason your diet isn’t working out like it should. The idea that sandwiches aren’t healthy is shocking for most people. After all, many Americans grew up on sandwiches for lunch, a habit they stick to even in adulthood. Sandwiches are easy, customizable and satisfying, making them the ideal go-to for any meal of the day, and studies show that even when we indulge at restaurants, a significant number of us order sandwiches. SEE ALSO: Your digestive system is key to your weight loss journey “Sandwiches themselves are not a growing category, they’re a shifting category,” Harry Balzer, VP at the analyst company NPD, told Advertising Age. Balzer indicated 49 percent of sandwiches consumed in 2012 were purchased at restaurants, an increase of 44 percent since the previous study in 2010. That same number–49 percent–is the number of Americans who eat at least one sandwich daily according to research this year published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But what is it about sandwiches that can derail a diet? Researchers explain it all has to do with sodium intake and calorie consumption. As it turns out, of the more than 5,000 study participants in the 2014 research, those who ate a sandwich a day were taking in an extra 600 milligrams of sodium a day–roughly a fifth of the recommended daily amount–during a single meal. What’s more, people who ate a sandwich a day consumed an average of 300 more calories compared to people who didn’t eat sandwiches. “The unanticipated finding that sandwich consumption is associated with higher overall intake of energy underscores the importance of making healthful choices of sandwich ingredients,” said study co-author Cecilia Wilkinson Enns, in a press release. “Many sandwiches, such as burgers and franks, and common sandwich components, such as yeast breads, cheese, and cured meats, are among the top contributors not only to sodium but also to energy in the diets of adult Americans.” SEE ALSO: Why you shouldn’t trust the top weight loss search results While the additional calories add up over time (it only takes 500 extra calories a day beyond regular intake for 7 days to add a pound of weight to the human body), the sodium intake is what has health officials more concerned. High levels of sodium intake have been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. How to build a better sandwich So what do you need to do to build a healthier sandwich? Use whole grain bread Make your sandwich smaller Use only lean, unprocessed meat like chicken, turkey,  or fish Use a low-fat condiment Create substance by using fruits and vegetables instead of meat Remember, much of your sodium intake through a sandwich comes from the bread and the meat. Always pay attention to labels when making your food purchases, and always buy unprocessed, organic items when possible.The post Why sandwiches are sabotaging your diet appeared first on Voxxi.

If you think a sandwich a day is a healthy choice, you might want to think again. (Shutterstock)

They seem harmless enough; two slices of bread, some meat, lettuce, tomato, and your condiment of choice, but sandwiches aren’t as healthy as you think, and if you eat one (or more) a day, they might be the reason your diet isn’t working out like it should.

The idea that sandwiches aren’t healthy is shocking for most people. After all, many Americans grew up on sandwiches for lunch, a habit they stick to even in adulthood. Sandwiches are easy, customizable and satisfying, making them the ideal go-to for any meal of the day, and studies show that even when we indulge at restaurants, a significant number of us order sandwiches.

SEE ALSO: Your digestive system is key to your weight loss journey

“Sandwiches themselves are not a growing category, they’re a shifting category,” Harry Balzer, VP at the analyst company NPD, told Advertising Age. Balzer indicated 49 percent of sandwiches consumed in 2012 were purchased at restaurants, an increase of 44 percent since the previous study in 2010.

That same number–49 percent–is the number of Americans who eat at least one sandwich daily according to research this year published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

But what is it about sandwiches that can derail a diet? Researchers explain it all has to do with sodium intake and calorie consumption. As it turns out, of the more than 5,000 study participants in the 2014 research, those who ate a sandwich a day were taking in an extra 600 milligrams of sodium a day–roughly a fifth of the recommended daily amount–during a single meal. What’s more, people who ate a sandwich a day consumed an average of 300 more calories compared to people who didn’t eat sandwiches.

“The unanticipated finding that sandwich consumption is associated with higher overall intake of energy underscores the importance of making healthful choices of sandwich ingredients,” said study co-author Cecilia Wilkinson Enns, in a press release. “Many sandwiches, such as burgers and franks, and common sandwich components, such as yeast breads, cheese, and cured meats, are among the top contributors not only to sodium but also to energy in the diets of adult Americans.”

SEE ALSO: Why you shouldn’t trust the top weight loss search results

Sandwiches are customizable
To make sandwiches healthier, focus on adding fruits and vegetables for bulk. (Shutterstock)

While the additional calories add up over time (it only takes 500 extra calories a day beyond regular intake for 7 days to add a pound of weight to the human body), the sodium intake is what has health officials more concerned. High levels of sodium intake have been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

How to build a better sandwich

So what do you need to do to build a healthier sandwich?

  • Use whole grain bread
  • Make your sandwich smaller
  • Use only lean, unprocessed meat like chicken, turkey,  or fish
  • Use a low-fat condiment
  • Create substance by using fruits and vegetables instead of meat

Remember, much of your sodium intake through a sandwich comes from the bread and the meat. Always pay attention to labels when making your food purchases, and always buy unprocessed, organic items when possible.

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