I’ll bet raised a few eyebrows! It did for me as well when I heard Sally Fallon say that at a conference I recently attended. Traditionally we never really ate that much lettuce. But, when we were told salads were healthy for us we decided we needed dressings in order to make them palatable. The problem is the ingredients in most commercial salad dressings. They are loaded with bad fats and sugar.

Check out this ingredient list from Hidden Valley Fat Free Ranch Dressing: Water, Corn Syrup, Cultured Lowfat Buttermilk*+(Skim Milk, Condensed Skim Milk, Active Cultures), Maltodextrin, Modified Food Starch, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Less Than 2% Of Vinegar, Garlic Puree, Onion Puree, Garlic++, Onion++, Green Onion++, Salt, Sugar, Spice, Sour Cream *+, ++ (Cream, Nonfat Milk Cultures), Pectin, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin+, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed And Soybean Oil +, Distilled Monoglycerine+, Natural Flavor, Artificial Color, Monosodium Glutamate, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Disodium Phosphate, With Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, TBHQ, And Calcium Disodium EDTA As Preservatives, Alpha Tocopheryl (Vitamin E), Lemon Juice Concentrate. ++ Dried, + Adds A Trivial Amount Of Fat, * Adds A Trivial Amount Of Cholesterol.

Hard to know where to start. Let’s start with sugar. The following ingredients are essentially sugar: corn syrup, maltodextrin, modified food starch, xanthan gum; all derived from corn. Not too mention the lowfat and nonfat buttermilks whose milk sugar content breaks down quickly as well in your body. Then we have the bad fats – the partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oil. We all know how hydrogenated oils create trans-fats which are known to cause cancer. And, I didn’t even mention the preservatives, the MSG, the natural flavors, or artificial color!

You may say that your dressing doesn’t have these oils. The truth is outside of extra virgin olive oil (that you should make your own dressings from), any oil that is in a commercially produced salad dressing is not good for you. Why? They are heated to high temperatures during processing. This damages the fats and oxidizes them. In your body this increases the number of free radicals which damage cells and tissues, including your arteries. The excess sugars contribute to blood sugar spikes and ultimately insulin issues which also damage arteries and cause diabetes.

One more item to chew on – even canola oil is not really good for you. Yes, chemically it is a healthy monounsaturated fat similar to olive oil. However, I’ll put this quite simply – have you ever seen a canola tree? (Hint: There is no such thing. It is a processed oil.)

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.