Delicious Living Blog

Why you should ditch fat-free salad dressings

You need some fat—specifically monounsaturated fats like olive, organic canola, or walnut oil—to best absorb the nutrients in your salad, according to a new study.

If you want to absorb the most of those great nutrients in your salad—with the fewest added calories—use a dressing made with monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), such as olive oil, organic canola oil, walnut oil, and sesame oil. Avocados are great, too.

MUFAs required the least amount of fat to get the most carotenoid absorption, as compared to polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats, said researchers at Purdue University.

“If you have a salad with a fat-free dressing, there is a reduction in calories, but you lose some of the benefits of the vegetables,” Mario Ferruzzi told

Love this! Without exception (Okay, maybe Greek yogurt), I have found that anything fat-free tastes worthless and weak—and usually has tons of added sugars or salt to try to compensate. Check out the ingredient list next time you grab a conventional salad dressing off the shelf—most are full or high-fructose corn syrup and water. Blech!

If it’s not delicious, it’s not satisfying, so you tend to go searching for more. Growing research (and common sense) supports the wisdom of eating the most delicious food possible, in moderate amounts.

One note about the study: I suspect they didn't test flaxseed oil, a particularly nutritious polyunsaturated fat, or PUFA, that's high in omega-3 and -6s. It’s a fantastic and nutritious oil for salad dressing. For incredible (and easy) salad dressings you can whip up at home, check out these Delicious Living recipes.

What do you think about fat-free food products? I’d love to hear your comments.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Tammy Provence (not verified)
on Jul 3, 2012

At G2G, we highly discourage fat and sugar free anything! Fat is great for our well being and learning to discern the beneficial from the harmful is what we teach our healthy diners. Thank you for the affirmation!

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