Are dressings really the angelic condiment that livens up any salad from being a boring "health" food to a tasty lunch? Packed with added sugars, poor quality fats and chemical ingredients, that mean some salad dressing might not be as angelic or healthy as you think!
Dressings go hand in hand with salads, so they must be healthy - right?
Marketing is a powerful tool and most people hear "dressing" and think "salad", so you wouldn't be judged for presuming all dressings are healthy! But us real food enthusiasts know there is is much more to optimal health than counting calories - and that not all salads or salad dressings are created equal!
Just because something is created to accompany a salad and contain as few calories as possible, does not make it healthy. In fact, driving down the calories only opens up the gates to a multitude of artificial flavourings and sweeteners, especially when it comes to dressings! Food should be about nutrient density in our opinion - we should eat to nourish our bodies.
Time to take a closer look at store bought dressings and just how 'healthy' they actually are!
Hidden harmful ingredients commonly found in store bought dressings
There are so many harmful ingredients which can be found in store-bought dressings. Most are used to drive down the cost of production or to add flavour due to a lack of tasty real food ingredients!
Let's take a look at some of the alarming ingredients you can find in mainstream dressings and reasons why they're not always as good for us as they initially may seem:
- Seed/veg oils - inflammatory seed oils such as rapeseed also known as canola oil (look out for blends of oils too - olive and avocado oil dressings are often blended with other cheaper and less healthy oils!)
- Added Sugar or Sweeteners - poor quality ingredients such as heavily processed seed oils don't taste great! You will often find added sugar and/or sweeteners in dressings to mask their flavour and make dressings more palatable.
- Grains or Gluten - look out for maize starch, wheat, and glucose-fructose syrup which is commonly derived from corn starch. Not all dressings are grain and gluten free!
- Chemical Preservatives and Artificial Ingredients - acidity regulators, stabilisers, preservatives and artificial flavourings are all chemicals you will find lurking in readymade dressings.
Worryingly, most store bought dressings will contain not one but all of the above hidden nasties. Always be sure to check the ingredients list and look out for red flags such as words you can't pronounce, or those which look like they belong on the periodic table rather than your dinner table!
Why low calorie often means low nutrients!
Conventional wisdom tells us that the lower the calories something contains, the better it is for you. This is something we couldn't disagree with more - protein and healthy fats are essential nutrients and two of the main sources of energy - and therefore calories!
Driving down the calories on any product may be an attractive strategy for most of the food industry, but we think that anything worth eating should be as nutritious as possible - packed with healthy fats and protein along with the calories they contain!
Something which is low in calories (we're looking at you 1kcal salad dressing sprays!) will almost certainly be low in nutrients.
You get what you pay for, so invest in your health!
Store bought dressings are convenient and often very reasonably priced compared with the cost of ingredients to make your own dressing. However, the food industry is all about profit and making a cheap dressing requires cheap, poor quality ingredients!
If like us you are in the pursuit of optimal health, it is always worth spending a little more to get a dressing that is not harmful to health but beneficial to it!
Hunter & Gather 100% Olive Oil Dressings
Dressed to impressed, nutritious and delicious, Hunter & Gather 100% Olive Oil Dressings don't compromise on taste, quality or nutrition!
Our dressings are made using 100% olive oil - no veg or seed oils. They are free from grains, gluten and added sugar. They're also packed with real food ingredients - so no need for artificial ingredients or nasty chemicals!
Hunter & Gather 100% Olive Oil Dressings are an amazing source of healthy fats and ideal for Keto, Paleo, Low Carb, Gluten-Free and Real Food lifestyles.
They're not just an afterthought or condiment either, our dressings can be the star of your dish and are perfect for experimenting in the kitchen - we love using our dressings as meaty marinades and silky sauces!
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.