Salad Dressings

Surpring Facts

Startling Facts About Your Salad Dressings

Your greens may be natural, just be careful what you're using to top off that salad.

We've discovered some surprising facts about salad toppings that we think are important to share with you!

More and more of us are enjoying salads, especially when you're growing your own organic greens.

But once you bring a store-bought bottle of salad topping into the equation, it's a whole new ballgame.

Salad flavorings can be a minefield for consumers looking for something healthy to top off their salad.

Because and unfortunately, processed food companies have to use everything in their arsenal (fats, salts, sugars, fake flavors and colors) to make store bought varieties appealing.

Firstly, many are loaded with untested and freaky ingredients.

Scrutinize any of the labels, and you'll see that oil is one of the top ingredients.

Unfortunately, the bulk of oils used in non-organic salad dressings today come from genetically engineered soy or canola, crops that have never been tested for its impact on human health.

These crops are grown using massive amounts of pesticides, which are absorbed through the roots and skins of the food.

We prefer opting for organic when we purchase from the supermarket.

When making our own dressing mix, we reach for heart-healthy, organic, extra-virgin olive oil.

It's fat profile is more favorable than other common salad oils.

To find high-quality organic extra-virgin olive oil look for dressings that are packaged in a dark bottle and that list a "best by" date or date of harvest.

As a general rule of thumb, opt for oils harvested in the current year and a "best by" date that is at least 2 years away.

Many popular brands use a go-to ingredient that's making us dummies.

Scientists recently discovered that ingesting high-fructose corn syrup for just six weeks made lab animals less smart.

While you'd expect this processed, brain-draining sweetener in candy, you might be surprised to find it in many sold under numerous popular and higher-end brands.

A "true" organic label ensures there's no high-fructose corn syrup in your dressing, so we prefer to go that route whenever possible.

Beware of labels with too much regular sugar as well, like raspberry vinaigrette, which can harbor deceiving amount of sweeteners.

Did you know that store-bought, regular varieties may even contain paint chemicals?

Titanium dioxide, a go-to substance in the paint industry to make colors brighter, is also a common ingredient for the same reason, it makes the ingredients (some of them fake) seem fresher.

Titanium dioxide is sometimes contaminated with lead, something we definitely don't want on our plate.

Sometimes it's listed as itself on the label, but other times it falls under vague colorings.

Be wary of these and consider whipping up your own version, free of freaky ingredients.

It's full of questionable colors.

Some salad flavorings may sound natural enough but some of the color comes not from real or natural ingredients, but Red #40, an artificial food dye linked to ADD in children.

Others contain Yellow 5, a fake food dye that causes allergic reactions in certain people and could harbor cancer-causing substances like benzidine.

Be wary of caramel colors, too.

Many flavors like honey mustard, Caesar, or creamy balsamic, rely on caramel coloring to give them their rich, brown or golden hue, and it should be noted that some caramel colors have even been linked to cancer.

Some could contain deadly hidden fats.

Trans fats are dangerous, industrialized fats that your flavor buds love, but your body hates, thanks to the ingredient's tendency to promote heart disease.

This nasty additive is used to help extend a product's shelf life.

Trans fats are required to be labeled, but there's a loophole, and food manufacturers are capitalizing on it.

Since products containing less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving aren't required to disclose this on the label, look for other warning signs, like ingredients listing "partially hydrogenated," or "shortening."

To reduce the time it takes to read the fine print, just grab an organic dressing, where trans fats and many other toxic ingredients, are banned.

Companies save money by tricking your your flavor buds.

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is an amino acid that helps intensify the flavor of foods.

By adding it to things like soups and salad dressings, companies are able to reduce the amount of real ingredients in their foods.

The problem is, animal studies link this food additive to nerve cell damage in the brain, and we know many people that report MSG-induced migraines.

So, we believe it's best to avoid products listing MSG or monosodium glutamate; other ingredients like natural flavoring and hydrolyzed vegetable protein could also contain glutamate.

Forewarned is fore-armed!

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