The Worst Salad Dressings and How They Are Making You Fat

He weighed 407 pounds when he came to see me. Diabetes, heart disease, terrible knee pain, his list went on and on. Of course, I asked him what he eats. Oatmeal for breakfast. Skips lunch. Usually a salad for dinner. I’m sure that I did not do an outstanding job of hiding the puzzled look on my face. I dug deeper and asked him to tell me everything he puts in that salad. Turns out that not all salads are created equal. This man’s “salad” was loaded with meat, eggs, and cheese, and smothered with hundreds of calories of high fat, high sugar salad dressing. I did the math and calculated that his salads had nearly 2000 calories each! This article will help you avoid making that mistake…  


PS: Stay tuned, and I’ll tell you about his oatmeal soon…it was even worse than the salad!  

Eat more salad, yes, yes, yes. Smother your salad with high-fat, high sodium, sugar-laden store-bought dressings, no, no, no!  Killing a beautiful salad with unhealthy dressing should be a crime.

Often we sabotage our best healthy intentions by choosing poorly in the salad dressing department. Don’t beat yourself up though, the vast world of dressings is a big black hole that is so easy to fall into, especially with food manufacturers touting their products to be healthy, natural and full of goodness. Don’t fall victim to this foolery – learn what is really healthy instead. Your salad and your waistline will thank you.

What’s really in your salad dressing

Most salad dressings have a serving size of 2 tablespoons. A whole lot can go wrong if you are using 2 tablespoons of bad salad dressing over and over again. Here is what it could contain and what you need to watch for:

High fructose corn syrup – High fructose corn syrup has damaging effects on the body. It can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, elevated triglyceride levels and it may also contain mercury.

GMO’s –  You may be relieved when you read the back of your salad dressing bottle to find that it contains olive oil. Not so fast, most salad dressings that say this also include cheap filler oils including soy and canola. We know that 90% of the soy and canola produced in the United States is genetically modified, so the chances are that they are inside your bottle of “healthy” Italian dressing. Genetically modified ingredients have been associated with immune dysfunction, infertility, accelerated aging and other health problems.

Sugar – Some salad dressings don’t even hide the fact that they put straight up sugar in their product. Sugar has no nutritional value, increases obesity risk and can lead to type 2 diabetes. This is just the tip of the iceberg as sugar has also been implicated in heart disease, cancer, depression, and fatty liver.

Vegetable oils –  As mentioned above, many salad dressings contain dangerous oils such as soybean and canola. These oils are loaded with omega-6, an essential fatty acid. While some omega-6 is a good thing – too much can be bad and lead to increased inflammation in the body and an elevated risk of conditions such as heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and depression.

MSG – You probably won’t see MSG as an ingredient on your salad dressing bottle but what you might see is this: natural flavoring, torula yeast, gelatin, textured protein, yeast extract, whey protein, and soy protein. Here is a list of many more ways that manufacturers are sneaking this product into your food. So, why do you want to avoid this ingredient? Research shows a connection between MSG and endocrine problems, an increase in brain tumors and migraines, and a worsening of symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s.

Titanium Dioxide – This chemical is the same substance that is used to make paint brighter, and it is found in a number of store-bought salad dressings where it is used to make the color of the dressing more appealing. Linked to a number of inflammatory conditions, this chemical is also commonly contaminated with lead.

Healthier Options

Rather than spending hours and hours reading labels in the store, simply make your own dressing at home. When you do this, you know exactly what is in it, and you can feel good about topping a delicious and healthy salad with something also healthy, Here are three great make-at-home dressing options that contain zero surprises and are good for you too!

Lemon Goodness Dressing
About 6 servings

What’s in it

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well.

Avocado Delight
About 5 servings

What’s in it

  • ½ cup Kefir
  • ⅓ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well.

Holiday Mint Dressing
About 6 servings

What’s in it

  • 6 tablespoons 100% pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well.

Just Ranch

About 6 servings

What’s in it

  • 1.5 cups full fat sour cream
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Put all ingredients in a jar, mix well and let set in the fridge before use.

-The UpWellness Team