Monday, June 7, 2010

9 Tips For Choosing a Better Salad Dressing


Posted: 07 Jun 2010 04:45 AM PDT

Spring will shortly turn to summer and salad season is shifting into full gear. With plenty of fresh greens at reasonable prices, there is really no excuse not to get your daily (or twice daily) fix. Build a meal around a good mix of leafy vegetables with the usual assortment of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and whatnot.

And what's a salad without a dressing? It's like Bert without Ernie, sesame without the chicken, a bun without the burger. You get it, a salad is not a salad without the good stuff drizzled on top.

Food manufacturers have realized this long ago, and today, entire supermarket aisles are dedicated to salad dressings and toppings.

Here's a short list of suggestions to help you make the best of your lettuce:

1. Make your own dressing. Really. In most parts of the world, it's unthinkable to buy a dressing. It's as easy as mixing 3 parts oil, 1 part lemon/vinegar, and adding salt and pepper to taste. From there, you can build up your dressing with additional herbs and spices. There's no shortage of recipes.

The following tips are for prepared dressings:

2. Serving size and calories: the standard is 2 tablespoons, with a caloric range of 50-200+ calories per serving. An easy way to cut the calories is to use less dressing. Mix the dressing and salad a bit more, until you can't see any blobs of sauce, just a shiny coating all over the salad greens.

3. Don't water down you salad. Many of the low-fat, or non-fat dressings are composed mostly of water. You're paying over $4.00 for a bottle of dressing, the least they could do is fill it up with a more expensive ingredient like fine olive oil. Also – why drown your greens after you've dried them up so nicely before serving?

4. A little bit of fat ain't bad. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble meaning your body will be more likely to absorb them when they're mixed with some oil.

5. Skip the toppings. While they may add extra crunch and flavor, the caloric and sodium contribution of bacon bits and croutons almost negate the purpose of the salad – a filling, healthy meal.

6. Watch out for the added sugars. Some dressings can get really tangy, so a bit of sugar rounds out the flavor remarkably. The problem is that in many cases, manufacturers add too much: Wishbone's Red Wine Vinaigrette Salad Dressing has an ingredient list that starts with High Fructose Corn Syrup. It contains 2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving!

7. Salty? One of the big challenges in salad dressing is the sodium content which can be as higher than 500mg per serving. That's close to 20% of the daily maximum. Look for 300mg per serving or less.

8. Look out for  Calcium Disodium EDTA. It's a preservative with a mildly salty taste.  May cause kidney damage, and blood in urine. It's on the FDA priority list of food additives to be studied for mutagenic, teratogenic, subsacute, and reproductive effects.

9. Many dressings use phosphoric acid (E338), an artificial additive that provides a tangy taste for a much cheaper price than lemons. It is also used in soft drinks. Some studies have linked it to lowering bone density.


Also, watch out for chemicals that you can't ponounce.  There's propylene glycol: ANTIFREEZE.
would you want to eat that?

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