Commercial Salad Dressings

Quick way to sabotage a perfectly healthy salad!? Use a commercial salad dressing. Many commercial salad dressings are laden with salt and sugar, many made with soybean oil (I eat soy, but don’t recommend soybean oil since it’s most likely GMO in many of these generic products), and partially hydrogenated oils. Be mindful of your salad dressing ingredients.

4 grams of sugar= 1 teaspoon

Average American gets 22 teaspoons (88 grams) per day of added sugars, and the American Heart Association only recommends Americans consume 6 teaspoons (24 grams of sugar) per day*! That’s almost 4X the amount recommended!! Yikes!

Current recommendations are that Americans consume  less than 2,300 mg of sodium (majority of adults really should have about 1,500 mg)* Both sugar and salt can add up fast when eating pre-made and already prepared foods!




Let’s take a quick look at the nutritional facts and ingredients of some of these classic dressings.

Classic Ranch:

First 4 ingredients: vegetable oil (most likely soy oil), water, egg yolk, sugar, salt…



Fat Free Ranch:

First 4 ingredients: water, corn syrup (sugar), modified food starch, buttermilk


Notice how the fat free and the classic ranch both have sugar within the first 4 ingredients. The fat free has 2 grams more of sugar, but nearly the same amount of sodium as the classic ranch. I vote for neither of these.

Solution: Make your own homemade ranch with cashew nuts!

Thousand Island:

First four ingredients: soybean oil, tomato puree, vinegar, sugar…


Solution: Make your own thousand island!

Now for the icing on the cake…

French dressing.

With a claim like this one, you better take a second look. Yes, fat does help absorb nutrients, but do you really need the wish-bone fat to make you healthy? Think again. Seven grams of sugar and 330 mg of sodium for 2 tablespoons!

First 4 ingredients: soybean oil, vinegar, sugar, water.


Read ingredient labels on your dressings or better yet– make your own using things like cashews, peanut butter, tahini (sesame paste), or avocado. Keep it simple with vinegar and a little oil like they do in the Mediterranean (that’s how I ate it in Spain)!

Here are some healthier alternatives:

  1. Ranch
  2. Lemon Tahini
  3. Thai Peanut Sauce
  4. Curried-Almond
  5. Avocado dressing 
  6. Mustard Lemon Dressing
  7. Strawberry Lemon Basil
  8.  Creamy Hemp Seed Dressing

*Using maple syrup, honey, and agave in recipes are still considered “add sugars.” Not always necessary to add these in salad dressing recipes.

Checkout more from Harvard on Sugar:

CDC on sodium:


In good health,

Moxie Dietitian

One thought on “Commercial Salad Dressings

  1. Pingback: Simplicity of salad | Moxie Musing

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