Would you eat your yoga mat? Not on purpose! Though some of us have gotten pretty dang close on occasion when attempting a tricky arm balance. Ahem. That’s just a little friendly yoga ribbing (and foreshadowing and maybe some deja vu). Here’s the real question: Do you eat Subway sandwiches? Then you might want to reassess your answer to the first question because there’s an ingredient in Subway’s bread that is certainly not eating “fresh,” unless you consider that to be rubber fresh.
Azodicarbonamide sounds pretty delicious, right? It’s a chemical used to make yoga mats and rubbery objects like the soles of your shoes, or you know, the McRib sandwich. It’s been known to cause respiratory issues like asthma and allergies and studies have even linked it to cancer. Subway uses it as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner for their bread that, involuntarily, you can smell for a four block radius because they pump that business out to the streets.
Subway has addressed this gross use of a creepy chemical and said they will stop including it (who knows when for sure), but not before a petition was created to stop their continued use of it. The petition, started by activist and serial chemical ingredient avenger, Vani Hari, asks Subway top execs to stop using azodicarbonamide and has over 64,000 signatures. Oh yeah, Subway only uses azodicrapola in North America, because it’s actually banned in some other countries. Think of that next time you try to choose the healthiest fast food option to “Eat Fresh.”
On a related note, you might consider purchasing a naturally-sourced, eco-friendly yoga mat.
I did a blog post on this to to get the word out. Thank you for sharing this information. http://wellnessfrominside.typepad.com/wellness_from_insidelivin/2014/02/what-does-subway-bread-and-your-yoga-mat-have-in-common.html
So the conclusion to be drawn here is that 45ppm of Azodicarbonamide is fine? I mean, that’s the maximum allowable amount and there don’t appear to be any reports of illness/death. We’re talking about a concentration on the same level as adding 45 drops of water to a 50L gas tank (~13 gallons). Hell, my water has probably collected 45ppm of dust by simply sitting open on my desk this morning. I wonder how y’all feel about the FDA allowances on bug parts in your food. Fun challenge: research those allowances and then go make a PB&J.
Let’s look at the WHO study. I’ll admit that I skimmed the findings. Let’s ignore the paragraph about the 2 year study where rats were fed bread baked with 100g Azodicarbonamide and no treatment-related adverse findings were reported. Let’s focus on the most damning part of the study: Part 8.3 “Short Term Exposure”. We see “signs of toxicity” in male rats given 300mg/kg body weight of Azodicarbonamide per day for 5 days. We’ll scale that up to a 180-lb male and we get a 5-day course of 24.545g of Azodicarbonamide per day.
So, let’s say you get a footlong flatbread at Subway with a serving size of 174g (bread-only). We’ll also assume that Subway uses the maximum allowable concentration of Azodicarbonamide (45ppm). This means you can expect 0.00783g of Azodicarbonamide in that bread. Now we extrapolate and find that you would need to eat about 3,134 footlong flatbreads to reach the smallest concentration found to cause an adverse effect.
Sure, “Did you know you’re eating a yoga mat!!!????” draws the crowd in but I bet if we all looked at the food we eat, we’d be surprised just how disgusting it can get. I bet lots of readers will be disgusted by this article and then go to a restaurant, take a bite from their veggie-burger, see that a piece of the bun fell onto the table, and pop that piece of bun into their mouth. All the while knowing that the table has hosted other patrons and was probably wiped down with some sort of caustic chemical which, in the right concentration, would kill you. I shudder to think what would happen if y’all found out that flouride, which is added to US drinking water, can cause brain damage, cancer, and lots of other health problems. Oops.
James, I love you and your wonderfully geeky math and science. Rock on!
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Subway Bread Contains Same Rubbery Ingredient As Some Yoga Mats
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