Aside from boosting your veggie and nutrient intake, salads are a great way to slim down. They help to moderate food intake by increasing satiety which reduces the likelihood of overeating. Plus, they're extremely versatile; you can dress them up or dress them down, and they're incredibly delicious with the right combinations of foods.
But top off your salad with the wrong dressing and you could be ingesting more calories and fat than if you had downed an ice cream sundae. Steer clear of these products—and then discover 12 Tips to Make Healthy Salad Dressings!
HOW WE RANKED THEM
First off, let's examine the nutritional profile of Hershey's Simply 5 Chocolate Syrup:
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 20 g sugar, 0 g protein
This new chocolate syrup product, which you can now find in your local grocery store, is made with cane sugar, organic invert cane syrup, water, cocoa, and natural vanilla flavor. We used this criteria as a benchmark to develop this list of shameful salad dressings. From there, we looked at the overall nutritional profiles of each product. Calorie, fat, sodium and sugar counts were examined first. Dressings with 20 percent or more of calories deriving from fat were a red flag. Anything with a sodium content of over 200 milligrams or a sugar count of over 2 grams automatically received demerits. Finally, ingredients were examined. We looked out for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial flavors, dyes and preservatives, soy lecithin and hydrogenated oils, which have been linked to cancer. Whether it's the calorie count or the ingredient list, these are 16 salad dressings that are worse for you than drizzling chocolate syrup onto nature's bounty.
FROM BEST TO WORST…
WALDEN FARMS SUGAR FREE THOUSAND ISLAND
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 0 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 190 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
Thanks to The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, you'll find this label on the first item of our list:California Proposition 65 Warning: This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm." Don't be fooled by the calorie and fat-free nutrition, this dressing is far from harmless. While it may not derail your diet, it could have detrimental effects on your health.
GIRARD'S LIGHT CHAMPAGNE DRESSING
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 60 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 470 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0 g protein
One serving of this dressing has nearly one-fourth of your daily sodium intake—and that's if you stick to two tablespoons. Excess salt intake is linked to elevated blood pressure, heart disease risk and sabotaging weight loss. It also causes bloating, so cutting down on sodium is one of the fastest ways to flatten your belly. Not sure how much salt you're actually consuming? Check out these 10 Saltest Foods in America.
KRAFT CLASSIC CATALINA DRESSING
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 90 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 390 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 0 g protein
Along with a high sodium count, this dressing contains 8 grams of sugar and color dyes. In fact, Canadian researchers found Red 40, found in this dressing, to be contaminated with known carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer).
WISH BONE BUFFALO RANCH
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 120 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 300 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0 g protein
If you're an avid Eat This fan, you know that cayenne pepper can increase your body temp., boost your metabolism and even prevent overeating. However, its waist-whittling effects are canceled out by the sodium and fat content in this dressing. Not to mention it contains soy lecithin, which is commonly associated with bloating, diarrhea, mild skin rashes, nausea and stomach pain.
MARZETTI SWEET AND SOUR FAT FREE
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 45 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 290 mg sodium, 12 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 0 g protein
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the second ingredient in this dressing—hence the 10-gram sugar count. Not to mention it contains artificial coloring, including yellow 5, which a Journal of Pediatrics study linked to hyperactivity in children.
KEN'S THOUSAND ISLAND
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 140 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 300 mg sodium, 4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 0 g protein
What do you get when you glop 13 grams of fat, corn syrup and chemical preservatives over your salad? A fat bomb, cancer causing, flat belly nightmare. If we haven't scared you yet, check out these 40 Habits That Make You Sick and Fat.
KRAFT HONEY MUSTARD
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 110 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated), 270 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 0 g protein
Unlike actual mustard, which contains cancer-fighting phytochemicals, honey mustard doesn't do a thing for your health (or waistline). It's hard to find one that's actually made with just honey and not HFCS—making Kraft's an exception. Nonetheless, it's still got 270 milligrams of sodium and 8 grams of sugar. Next!
NEWMAN'S OWN LOW FAT SESAME GINGER
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 35 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 390 mg sodium, 5 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 0 g protein
This dressing doesn't offer much aside from a seriously salty aftertaste. While it won't leave you with bulging
love handles, it's not going to be your flat belly solution either.
BRIANNA'S CLASSIC BUTTERMILK RANCH
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 160 calories, 17 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 280 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 1 g protein
You fill your plate with a plethora of superfoods like kale, cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, and even chickpeas. You top it with a piece of lean grilled chicken and a glopping mound of Brianna's Classic Buttermilk Ranch. You think you're doing your body a favor, but you forget that 17 grams of fat are 17 grams of fat, no matter what you place beneath it.
NEWMAN'S OWN RANCH
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 150 calories, 16 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 310 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0 g protein
Coming in just behind Brianna's Classic Buttermilk Ranch with 25 percent of its calories coming from fat and 310 milligrams of sodium, Newman's Own is just a smidge guiltier. But when it comes to nutrition, every smidge counts.
KEN'S FAT FREE SUNDRIED TOMATO VINAIGRETTE
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 70 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 260 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 0 g protein
With 12 grams of sugar and the first ingredient being HFCS, you might as well top your salad with artificial sugar. Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group, says, "High fructose corn syrup has been shown to increase appetite and lead to health problems such as obesity and diabetes." Yeah, yeah, you knew it was bad, but hear us again: HFCS is bad! Don't believe us? Check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Sugar.
KRAFT VELVEETA CHEESY JALAPENO RANCH
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 120 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 350 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 0 g protein
One word: Velveeta. You don't need to be a health foodie to know that topping your salad with this chemical cheese sauce is a major no-no. It's fatty, salty and probably tastes like a straight up heart attack.
BRIANNA'S CREAMY BALSAMIC
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 160 calories, 17 g fat (1 g saturated), 290 mg sodium, 6 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 0 g protein
While the ingredient list is far from the worst one on here, the nutritional profile is less than impressive. Instead, top your greens with calorie and fat-free balsamic vinegar and heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil. When it comes to nutrition, simplicity is everything. P.S. A Purdue University study found that certain healthy fats—like those in olive oil—were necessary to absorb the full benefits of the other vegetables in a salad. If you tend to go for convenience over health at least check out these
150 Worst Packaged Foods in America.
Naturally, the worst of the bunch contain the word "creamy" in their title. If there is ever a red flag, that's one. The following are neck-to-neck calorically and just a gram away in fat and saturated fat. Their ingredient lists are also similar, but they do differ in sodium content…which creamy one will be the worst? Read on!
MARIE'S CREAMY ITALIAN GARLIC
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 180 calories, 19 g fat (3 g saturated), 135 mg sodium, 1 g carb, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
Aside from completely derailing any of your body goals, this salad will have your coworkers dodging you at every corner. Garlic may be great for the body, but when it's soaked in saturated fats, it's not doing you or your social life any favors. That's not the real reason it ranks so low on our list (it's the poor nutritional profile!) but maybe you needed the extra motivation to step away from this salad dressing.
NEWMAN'S OWN CREAMY CAESAR
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 170 calories, 18 g fat (3 g saturated), 340 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
The caesar salad has doubled in size and calories over the last two decades—and with dressings like this one, it's no surprise. For starters, caesar salad is drenched in dressing. Imagine you use four tablespoons (as opposed to the advertised serving size of two): you're looking at 340 calories, 36 grams of fat, and 680 mg of sodium from the dressing alone…no thank you! And for salads to steer clear of, check out these 19 Salads Worse Than a Whopper.
MARIE'S CREAMY GARLIC CAESAR
Nutrition (2 tbsp): 170 calories, 19 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 160 mg sodium, 1 g carb, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 1 g protein
Marie's Creamy Garlic takes the throne for the worst salad dressing on this list. It's got 80 more calories, far more fat and sodium, and a longer list of ingredients than chocolate syrup. Its one redeeming factor? It has far less sugar than chocolate syrup and many other dressings on this list. But that's not a reason to reach for it. Stick to simple olive oil and vinegar with a little salt and pepper. And now that you know what to do while crunching into your own homemade salads, find out the 20 Worst Restaurant Salads in America that you should avoid!