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In 1998, Indiana University junior Jared Fogle weighed 425 pounds, but less than a year, he weighed 180 pounds. Fogle attributed his 245-pound drop to an exercise and eating program that he developed himself, and that is now commonly called the "Subway diet" or the "Jared diet," according to Diet.com. He isn't the only one to claim success following the plan -- in 2011, Mail Online reported on a 41-year-old man who lost more than 70 pounds in nine months on a version of the Subway diet.However, nutritionists warn that the plan may not benefit your health in the long run. Talk to your physician before beginning any weight-loss program.
Jared Fogle developed the Subway diet after his excessive weight caused him to suffer from sleep apnea, shortness of breath, high blood pressure and edema in his wrists and ankles, according to Diet.com. After trying and failing to follow several weight management plans, he heard that a Subway near his apartment was offering seven varieties of submarine sandwiches that contained less than 6 grams of fat each. He began eating nothing more than two of these sandwiches a day. After losing 100 pounds, he added a daily walk of 1.5 miles to his routine. Fogle later became a spokesman for Subway and founded a nonprofit organization devoted to childhood obesity. He wrote about his weight loss journey in the 2006 book, "Jared, the Subway Guy: Winning Through Losing -- 13 Lessons for Turning Your Life Around."
According to Fogle, his version of the Subway diet included coffee for breakfast, a 6-inch turkey sandwich with a diet soda and chips or pretzels for lunch and a 12-inch vegetable sandwich for dinner, again with a diet soda and chips or pretzels. The sandwiches included vegetables but did not have any oil, mayonnaise or cheese. Fogle alternated between wheat and white bread. Occasionally, Fogle ate some fruit or cereal with skim milk, and he took a multivitamin daily. As he lost weight and added exercise into his daily routine, his health was regularly monitored by his father, a practicing physician.
If you follow the Subway diet exactly as described by Fogle, you will be regularly consuming only about 1,000 calories each day. On a diet this low in calories, you will almost certainly lose weight. The program is simple to follow because no cooking, calorie-counting or portion control is required. Subway offers a wide variety of low-fat sandwiches, ranging from chicken teriyaki to black forest ham to vegetarian, so most people will be able to find something to suit their preferences. In addition, Fogle recommends regular exercise and advises consulting with a doctor before beginning the diet.
Weight-loss plans like the Subway diet that provide fewer than 1,200 calories per day can increase your risk of becoming deficient in essential nutrients like protein, calcium or iron. Cardiologist Isadore Rosenfeld told CNN Health that very low-calorie diets can suppress your immune system, increase your tendency to gain weight by slowing your metabolism and heighten your risk of heart problems. The Subway diet may also not provide a wide enough variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products to support optimal health and prevent disease.