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The “right” way to eat a salad”
You’re weight watching !
So you opt for a salad. A collection of lettuce leaves, healthy vegetables full of important nutrients, plus NO FAT – you can’t get more healthy than that !
Lutein, carotene, lycopene flooding your system.
Actually……….. that salad, might be a whole lot less healthful, than you think.
A problem with absorption
You see, the availability of those healthful nutrients is rather low in raw vegetables, at the best of times. And if you opt to eat your salad without fat, they’re virtually non-existent.
This is what a group of researchers from Iowa State University discovered, when they served platefuls of salad to volunteers, with different salad dressings.
A big crunchy salad
The team served a rather large crunchy salad to 10 young healthy volunteers, on three different occasions.
The salad was always the same, it was the salad dressing that varied.
There salad ingredients included
- 48 g of spinach
- 48 g of romaine lettuce
- 66 g of raw shredded carrot
- 85 g of raw cherry tomatoes
With salad dressing
The dressing was always Good seasons Italian Dressing, which is a commercial dry ingredient product, produced by Kraft. The variation came in how the powder was reconstituted. The team varied the oil/water ratio, to create
- a NO fat salad dressing
- a low fat (6 g) salad dressing
- a full fat (28 g) salad dressing
Tucking into the salad was an all day affair………
Eating salad for breakfast
The volunteers arrived at the lab HUNGRY (12 hour fast), were hooked up to a system that allowed for easy blood draws and then……
Salad, with dressing, for breakfast
A blood sample was drawn immediately before the salad and then at 1 hour intervals, for a total of 12 hours. The blood samples were tested to see how many of the power packed phytonutrients (31.3 mg) made it into the salad eater, over the course of the day.
NOTE : The participants didn’t have to survive the whole day on a salad for breakfast. They got a low carotenoid formulated lunch and dinner. Lunch was served at the 5 hour mark and dinner, at the 10 hour mark.
The big fat truth behind salad dressings
The analysis of the blood samples revealed…
the carotenoids go AWOL, when there is little or no fat, in the dressing.
This can be seen in the plots of the beta-carotene and lycopene in the plasma chylomicron fraction expressed per litre of plasma.
This study shows, fat is a pre-requisite for the carotenoids to make it out the lettuce leaves and into the blood stream. This is not totally unexpected, these compounds are classified as fat soluble vitamins.
This means fats are needed for them to get into solution.
If the fats aren’t there, it has consequences…………
Low fat salad dressings the “perfect” solution
Let’s be honest, lettuce leaves on their own don’t taste great. Spritzing with salad dressing makes them more palatable.
The advent of the low fat salad dressings looks like a perfect solution.
You get lots of nutrients PLUS very few calories.
But a salad without fat has no nutrients
For me, it makes the whole idea of munching on lettuce leaves a whole lot less appealing.
Neither you, nor your cells end up feeling satisfied, which if you’re not careful…….. can lead to a pig out. Hungry cells encourage grocery shopping.
Oh dear !
A body needs real food
Happy, healthy energized bodies need both calories and nutrients.
If you’re on a mission to CUT calories, cut out the nutrient poor, calorie rich foods, like sweets, cookies and sugar laden cold drinks.
Aim to make your calories pack a nutrition punch………..
If salad is on the menu,
enjoy it with a full fat salad dressing, so you maximize the nutrition.
Apply the principle to the other vegetables you eat, especially if you’re eating them as the main course. (There won’t be too much fat, floating about if this is the only item on the menu).
Serve them with a pat of butter, or some cheese or roast them in the oven.
Serving them with a little fat, will not only make them more palatable, it will help you get those nutrients that are GOOD FOR YOU !
You’re currently “ON DIET”, to be safe, you order a salad. But you may not be acting as virtuously as you think because a salad is not always a salad.
Vinegar manages to move more sugar into skeletal muscle, this increased uptake of sugar, means less sugar is circulating, stopping pesky sugar spikes.
Watch how you store your veggies – a dark cold fridge will not make your cabbage think it is under attack, something you want your cabbage to do.