Shaun Lucas
Opinion Editor

On Oct. 1, the Supreme Court of Ireland ruled that bread used in Subway restaurant sandwiches is too sugary to be considered bread. The ruling came about due to tax reasons, as Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act says bread with over 2 percent of its weight made up with added substances such as sugar will not receive tax exemption, according to NPR. Unfortunately for Subway, its bread contains 10 percent sugar in the recipe’s total weight, also according to NPR. Only in 2020 would a staple “healthy fast food restaurant” have its bread more akin to a pastry than actual bread.

The ruling brings about an interesting discussion within American diets: how does one entirely know if their “healthy” diet consists of truly healthy foods? Balancing a diet is surely a challenge that many, myself included, cannot find time to accomplish. With crucial responsibilities, such as school, work, family life, how can one ensure all and/or a heavy majority of meals contain the proper ratio of food groups?

Only a quarter of Americans are eating high levels of fruits, dairy, and oils, according to health.gov. In the same data from health.gov, a majority of Americans consume more than the recommended portion of saturated fats, sugars, and sodium. The over-consumed substances likely relate to fast food restaurants, with many popular chains dripping with these unhealthy substances. In a busy schedule, it’s easier to consume a few happy meals than for a family to create a nutritious set of meals.

People seem to forget, despite its branding, that Subway is still fast food. Even before hearing about the bread’s sugar contents, I never understood Subway being considered “healthy” while people pile on toppings and sauces. Also, a soft drink is a sugary nightmare, especially when 30 ounces of, say, Coca-Cola contains 101 grams of sugar, according to the nutrition website Eat This Much. Even the veggie delight 6-inch sub at 230 calories is more calories than an 140 calorie 8-count grilled chicken nugget meal served at Chick Fil A, according to the restaurant’s online menu supplement/newsletter The Chicken Wire.

Above all, people still need to burn any amount of calories and other macromolecules consumed. Similar to healthy meal planning, it’s difficult to maintain exercise regimens alongside other responsibilities. During the summer, I remember in having ample time for jogging sessions, along with sweating off water weight at work. Currently, a week with a constant flow of online school work, I’m fortunate to have a weekly, couple-mile run.

So how does one combat these dietary issues? Without delving into exact balance ratios, simply limiting unhealthy consumption does a lot. Relating back to the sugary drinks, simply drinking water instead immediately eliminates calories from beverages. Even flavored waters, while obviously having more calories than regular water, still provide healthier drinking alternatives. As for exercise: walk around your neighborhood at even comfortable lengths just to burn a few calories.

Indeed, not everyone can and/or has to be a fitness marvel; yet, it’s important to maintain decent physical care to avoid problems later in life. Poor care can become the difference between being able to exercise in your late 80’s and requiring drastic medical procedures before you hit your 40’s. I’m not going to judge any individual’s choices, but only you can take the steps towards a relatively healthy and pain-free life.