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One Major Side Effect of Eating Bottled Salad Dressing, Says Science

Before you go assuming that every salad is healthy...
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Honestly, the best part about eating a salad is probably the dressing. Salad dressings are so diverse that you can always find the perfect one for your own needs at any grocery store. Maybe you like a creamier dressing, something on the sweeter side, a tangy vinaigrette, or a simple olive oil-based dressing. Whatever you prefer, there's bound to be a bottled salad dressing for you.

Although salads can be a nutrient-dense, low-calorie meal with tons of health benefits, they can quickly turn into a not-so-healthy choice. Some bottled salad dressings can come loaded with added sugar, added fat, or tricky preservatives and ingredients we can't pronounce.

But one major side effect of eating bottled salad dressing that not as many people talk about is the possibility of consuming too much sodium! Here's what you need to know, and for more tips on eating healthy, make sure to check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

How much sodium is in bottled salad dressing?

The amount of sodium in your dressing varies depending on which type you buy. Given that the standard serving size for most bottled dressing is two tablespoons, it's easy to consume high amounts of sodium without even noticing it—especially if you're a dressing lover.

If you choose something like a standard Hidden Valley Ranch, you'll get 260 milligrams of sodium in just two tablespoons. If you're more into a Kraft Thousand Island Dressing, you'll also get 260 milligrams of sodium per serving.

It's especially important to look out for the so-called "healthier" dressings on the shelves, like something labeled "fat free" that's loaded with added sugars and sodium for flavor.

For example, you'll consume a whopping 350 milligrams of sodium per two tablespoons of Wish-Bone Fat-Free Italian Dressing, and another 290 milligrams from Ken's Fat-Free Raspberry dressing.

One that may really surprise you is the Primal Kitchen Caesar Dressing, which is Keto and Whole30-friendly. This dressing might use better ingredients, but you're still getting 210 milligrams of sodium in a serving.

RELATED: 10 Healthy Salad Dressing Brands to Buy (and 10 to Avoid)

Bottled salad dressing
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What happens when you consume too much sodium?

The FDA recommends that adults get less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, even though the average American gets closer to 3,400 milligrams per day.

According to the FDA, consuming too much sodium can create an excess of water in our bloodstream, which can ultimately lead to high blood pressure. And if we experience high blood pressure over long periods of time, it can put a lot of force on our vital organs and lead to severe health issues like stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease, among many other possible problems.

High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are closely linked, with blood pressure being one of the biggest factors in increased CVD risk. According to the Journal of Human Hypertension, there is not only a positive correlation between salt intake and raised blood pressure, but this relationship also increases as we get older.

More research is currently being done on how sodium affects our heart because doctors still need to see the long-term effects of reducing our intake. Yet, a handful of studies have found that reducing sodium could have a positive effect on our cardiovascular health.

According to The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a group of random trials found that reducing daily sodium intake could result in a decrease of stroke and CV-related incidences by up to 20%.

The takeaway

It's safe to say that even though more and more research is being done on the topics of sodium, blood pressure, and heart disease, enough evidence has been found so far to conclude that we should stay away from consuming too much sodium.

With bottled salad dressings, it's hard to control the amount of sodium you're really consuming, especially with smaller serving sizes. If you're going to reach for a store-bought salad dressing, maybe try something with lower sodium like Organic Girl Avocado Cilantro or Bragg's Vinaigrette Dressing.

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