You decide that today is the day. You are going to make a very healthy lunch to kick-start a better lifestyle, or perhaps to make up for last night’s indulgences. It’s time for a fresh salad.
You chop up a variety of leafy greens, dice up cucumbers and carrots, slice a ripe tomato and avocado, sprinkle some seeds and nuts, and add your favorite protein. There’s only one thing left to do before you dig in. You find a bottle of dressing you bought at your local grocery store and unscrew the cap. You tilt it to pour over your nutritious salad…
You are ruining the benefits of the vegetables and beneficial toppings by mixing it with some of the worst ingredients you can place in your mouth!
Why Commercial Salad Dressing is the Detriment of All Health Attempts
You can clearly see what is in your salad, like the lettuce, mushrooms, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, and, oh hey, there’s a pumpkin seed. However, when you look at your dressing, what do you see? A white or orange blend hides the true ingredients in that innocent-looking bottle.
Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
These three chemicals are common flavor enhancers that are often found in packaged foods such as dressing and instant noodles. Disodium guanylate is an enhancer usually derived from fish. It is mostly harmless on its own, but when mixed with disodium inosinate and MSG it becomes potentially toxic. People who suffer from gout or uric acid kidney stones should avoid disodium guanylate. Both disodium additives are fairly expensive, so they are mixed with cheap MSG to cut production costs.
MSG hides under different names such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Manufacturers use it to bring out the flavor in food, but it also can cause a severe allergic reaction with headaches, nausea, and a burning sensation at the back of the neck and forearms.
Gums are frequently used as a stabilizing agent to keeps the contents of the salad dressing well-blended. Although gums are naturally derived from trees, seaweed, bacteria, etc., very few studies were conducted to experiment their allergenic qualities. Guar, tragacanth, and xanthan gum are all commonly used gums in food production, especially xanthan in dressings. This specific gum can trigger various allergic reactions like headaches, gastrointestinal syndromes such as diarrhea and bloating. Tragacanth gum is linked to the potential reactions from individuals, especially those who suffer from celiac disease due to its gluten residues.
All food manufacturers know this: corn syrup is the cheapest sweetener around. Therefore they use is in many processed foods, drinks, and condiments. That’s great for income but horrible for us. High fructose corn syrup has been proven to promote increased belly fat, insulin resistance, and is linked to the heightening obesity crisis.
Calcium Disodium (EDTA)
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, EDTA, is a common preservative in sodas, sauces, and bread spreads. It’s also rampant in shampoos, body washes, deodorants, skin creams, and other cosmetics. EDTA can cause reactions such as asthma attacks, skin rashes, and possibly kidney damage. Researchers tested dogs to discover that a sustained intake EDTA leads to essential mineral depletion. (1)
This preservative is a proven carcinogen. When sodium benzoate is digested, it is transported to the liver, where it is supposed to be filtered and expelled in urine. However, at that point, the damage was already done. This chemical chokes your body of its nutrients by depriving the mitochondria in the DNA of oxygen. This can completely shut them down. Cells need oxygen to function and fight off infection. When sodium benzoate is consumed with Vitamin C or E, it forms benzene, which is a known to cause cancer. Other results of this preservative are Parkinson’s, premature aging, and neurodegenerative diseases. (2)
Surprisingly enough, there is sugar in salad dressing, even more so in low-fat brands. Therefore, those so-called ‘healthier’ versions can actually be even more harmful than the full-fat original!
As far as sugar goes, where to begin with the long list of the detriments of this refined and rampant substance in our diets? Sugar consumption is linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, brain function impairment, stiff joints, weakened immune system, behavioral issues in children, mineral imbalance, malnutrition, chronic kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Sugar is chemically more addictive than cocaine, and can cause withdrawal symptoms similarly to morphine or nicotine.
We are eating this poison with our vegetables and thinking our meal is healthy! (3)
Salad dressings are loaded with canola, corn oil, sunflower oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil, and vegetable oil. “They don’t seem that bad,” you say. “Sunflower seeds and corn is good for you, right?” It’s true that vegetables are crucial for a healthy diet, but oil manufacturers refine the corn and sunflowers to death. They extract the oil and mutate the polyunsaturated fat until it becomes trans fats and other compounds that are worse than trans fats!
Not only you are consuming these lethal products with your dressing, but you are also actually making your entire salad unbeneficial! When your body accounts for high levels of polyunsaturated fats, they prevent your body from absorbing the fat and all the other nutrients and vitamins your body needs from the veggies. (4)
Unhealthiest Store-Bought Salad Dressings
- Ken’s Steakhouse, Buttermilk Ranch
- Newman’s Own, Family Recipe Italian
- Ken’s Steakhouse, Thousand Island
- Marie’s, Blue Cheese Vinaigrette (5)
Healthiest Store-Bought Salad Dressing
- Cindy’s Kitchen Mango Coconut & Pepper
- Bolthouse Farms Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Annie’s Naturals Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette
- Annie’s Naturals Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Newman’s Own Lite Low Fat Sesame Ginger (6)
The Best Option: Homemade
You don’t need the potential poisons of commercial salad dressing. By making it yourself, you know precisely what the ingredients are and why they are good for you.
Here’s a basic template of how you can make a delicious dressing suited to your taste without a particular recipe.
- Healthy Oil: 3 parts top quality healthy oil – extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, sesame oil
- Acid: 1 part something acidic – apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemons, limes, grapefruit
- Herbs: fresh or dried – oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, parsley
- Sweetness: 1 part sweet or to taste – honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut syrup
- Creamy: 1 part nut/seed butter – tahini, almond butter, cashew butter, hemp seed butter
- Additional Flavors: minced garlic, grated ginger, chili flakes, tamari
- To Taste: sea salt and pepper
- Mix all ingredients in a blender or shake them in a jar. (7)
- Drizzle over your salad for truly healthy and beneficial lunch
- Bon appetit!
Here are recipes you can try at home today!
(1) Rosel Kim. Harmful Food Additives in Salad Dressing http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/harmful-food-additives-in-salad-dressing Published: June 23, 2014. Accessed: Sept 22, 2016.
(2) S. D, Wellis. Sodium benzoate is a preservative that promotes cancer and kills healthy cells. http://www.naturalnews.com/033726_sodium_benzoate_cancer.html. Published: Sept 29, 2011. Accessed: Sept 22, 2-16.
(3) Dr. Gary Null. Sugar: Killing us Sweetly. Staggering Health Consequences of Sugar on Health of Americans. http://www.globalresearch.ca/sugar-killing-us-sweetly/5367250 Published: Mar 13, 2014. Accessed: Sept 22, 2016.
(4) Dr. Cate. Salad Dressing: The Silent Killer. http://drcate.com/salad-dressing-the-silent-killer/ Published June 1, 2008. Accessed: Sept 22, 2016.
(5) The Daily Meal. Unhealthiest Store-Bought Salad Dressings Slideshow. http://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/unhealthiest-store-bought-salad-dressings-slideshow/slide-20 Accessed: Sept 22, 2016
(6)Eat This, Not That. Salad Dressings for Weight Loss. http://www.eatthis.com/salad-dressings-for-weight-loss. Accessed: Sept 22, 2016
(7) Academy of Culinary Nutrition. How To Make Salad Dressing. http://www.culinarynutrition.com/how-to-make-salad-dressing/ Accessed: Sept 22, 2016