Three Rules of Label Reading
Before we talk about salad dressing, I want to remind you of the three rules of label reading:
- Avoid any foods with any kind of sugar in them. Sugar is the most inflammatory thing in our diet. Sugar is found in 80 percent of the foods in the grocery store. So, become a sugar warrior and try to avoid those foods with added sugar.
- Avoid foods with more than five ingredients. Don't get the foods with the giant ingredients lists. These include all those extra ingredients we don't need.
- Avoid foods that have ingredients you can't pronounce or don't know what they look like.
If you follow these three rules, you will get rid of a majority of processed foods out of your diet that you don't need and are pro-inflammatory.
Let's Talk about Ranch Dressing
Let's talk about regular and the fat-free ranch dressing. A lot of people think the fat-free version is so much healthier than the regular version. Those on the keto diet think the regular version is the way to go, and it's easy! Which option is better?
Let's start with regular ranch. Even though it's the full-fat kind, it still has sugar in it. In fact, sugar is the fourth ingredient in the list! And there are lots of things we can't pronounce or recognize: monosodium glutamate, thickeners, xanthan gum, and ploysorbate 60. (What really is polysorbate 60? Is it 60 polysorbates?)
What do we know about foods with less fat (that is taken out of the product)? That's right! They have more added sugar. When you look at the ingredient list for lite ranch dressing, you get: water, corn syrup, soybean oil, vinegar, egg yolks, food starch, sugar... Corn syrup is the first "real" ingredient on the list. And even more sugar is included down the list!
What about the fat-free variety? It's ingredients list looks like this: water, corn syrup, vinegar, sugar...Notice the second sugar comes in sooner on the list. And there are so many other ingredients that sound like they belong in a chemistry lab—not on your plate!
One tiny, not-so-great-but-better-for-you hack
This isn't my favorite food hack, and it's not even a really great choice. But if you're addicted to the ranch flavor and just need it, use the packet of dried ranch dressing and add Greek yogurt or sour cream to it. There's still a list of ingredients in the packet, but you know the Greek yogurt or sour cream are really foods and are pretty clean.
When you look at the ingredient list on the packet, you'll notice there is no sugar. But there's a bunch of ingredients we can't pronounce or visualize like, monosodium glutamate, calcium stearate...You see where I'm going? And that is actually better than the bottled options!
One amazing option I know you'll love
Go to the dollar store and buy some empty condiment bottles. Then mix olive oil with flavored balsalmic vinegar. You can get flavored oils and vinegars at stores here in Springfield or in Branson. Use this on your vegetables, your salad, or even as a marinade for your chicken. It's so delicious, and you're going to love it!
And now, you are smarter than a bottle of ranch dressing!
P.S. If you haven't been in to see us in awhile, let's get together and have a check up! We can help you through any stalls and answer any nutrition questions you may have. If you're new to this nutrition thing, let's chat! Visits with a dietitian may be covered by your insurance. Schedule an appointment today!