A quick Internet search for “Top Ten New Year’s
Resolutions” will turn up hundreds of links and in nearly
every list, “weight loss” is found. This time of year,
weight-conscious American consumers are a huge target market.

Mira Levitan
Mmm. Wheat Gluten. (Laura Shlecter/Daily)

Subway has capitalized on America’s New Year’s
resolution-induced dieters, unveiling it’s new Atkins
Nutritional Inc. endorsed low-carbohydrate wraps on December 29,
just three days before resolutions were set to become reality. The
“Atkins Friendly” wraps are available in two varieties:
Chicken Bacon Ranch and Turkey and Bacon Melt. Each boasts 11 grams
or less “Net Carbs” and the wrap itself, which is made
with wheat gluten, cornstarch, oat, sesame flour and soy protein,
has only five grams Net Carbs.

Well, there are the facts, but how is the taste? A die-hard fan
of a foot-long BLT sub with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green
pepper, pickles, banana peppers, oil, vinegar, a little bit of
mayo, salt and pepper, I wondered how my taste buds would
react.

I dedicated my lunch hour for two days to sampling
Subway’s latest product. Day one brought the Chicken Bacon
Ranch Wrap, recommended by the Subway sandwich artist.

I had consulted the promotional sign and noticed that the wraps
were only “Atkins Friendly” if constructed to
Subway’s exact specifications. These specifications are not,
however, posted on the advertisement, nor are they necessarily
common knowledge among the sandwich artists. I was unprepared for
this on my first visit, so I just tried my best to make an
“Atkins acceptable” wrap.

Although the Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap sounded tempting, it
turned out to be a big disappointment — not only because the
sandwich shop had run out of onions and pickles. The major protein
sources, chicken, bacon and shredded Swiss cheese, are warmed in
the microwave only to be smothered by cold vegetables and
surrounded by a cool wrap, creating a very unpleasant contrast. The
flavor of the wrap was dominated by the combination of the warm
ingredients and the ranch dressing, which turned out to be a
blessing in disguise as the vegetables were most unimpressive
— the lettuce was yellow and the tomatoes were horribly
unripe. As I continued eating the wrap, the taste of ranch subsided
as more and more of the dressing soaked into the wrap itself.

Hoping that some of my dissatisfaction could have been caused by
failure to follow the Subway recommended and Atkins approved wraps,
I set out to find out exactly what is supposed to be in these
wraps.

I had no luck reaching any Subway customer service
representative via telephone, but less than four and a half hours
after I filled out the website’s online information request
form, I received an e-mail with the requested information.

For anyone interested, the Atkins Nutritional Inc.-approved
Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap includes chicken strips, bacon, shredded
Swiss cheese, onions, green pepper, olives and Kraft Full Flavor
Ranch Dressing. The similarly approved Turkey Bacon Melt Wrap
consists of turkey, bacon, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, onions,
green pepper, olive and Chipotle Southwest Sauce.

Armed with new knowledge, I set off the following day hoping to
be pleasantly surprised: A new day and a new wrap. The Turkey Bacon
Melt Wrap was better but still lacking; the meat and cheese were
placed on the wrap and heated together eliminating the huge
temperature discrepancy that had existed in the previous wrap but
presenting a new problem. As I see it, the overarching problem is
the wrap itself, which has a very harsh lingering aftertaste of
wheat gone wrong and is more potent in a warm wrap. Wheat should
not taste processed and artificial. Not even the tangy Chipotle
Southwest Sauce could mask the flavor of the wrap.

In short, the Subway wraps are bad, though this needs to be
expected. Why make a sandwich low-carb when so much of a
sandwich’s merit is in the bread? This might stem from the
same line of reasoning that prevents me from understanding how and
why anyone could produce low fat quiche or cheese when all of the
magic is in the rich, delicious and well, yes, fattening
ingredients. If you are motivated enough (crazy enough?) to exclude
carbs from your diet, don’t look to Subway’s new wraps
for a tasty lunch.

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