Sneaky food additives are everywhere in our food system, and condiments are one of the biggest culprits. If you’re watching your blood sugar, you’ll want to check your dressings for large amounts of added sugars, carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats.
Checking nutrition labels is one of the easiest ways to spot added sugars in the diet. The new, updated nutrition labels now make it easier than ever with an “added sugar” line on the nutrition facts to decipher exactly how much of the sugar is naturally occurring versus added.
The 2022 Dietary Guidelines suggest that added sugars should only be a small part of our diet, with up to 24 grams per day for women and 36 grams per day for men. If you broke up the total added sugar amount per meal, that would be roughly 8-12 grams of added sugar or less per meal.
In moderation, all types of salad dressings and condiments can fit into your health goals, but be sure to pay attention to portion size, consider making your own salad dressing at home where you can control the ingredients, or look for options that are low in added sugar.
Here are five salad dressings dietitians say you may want to reconsider if you’re watching your blood sugar levels. And for more tips on managing your blood sugar, check out The 4 Worst Condiments for Blood Sugar.
This dressing appears healthy at first glance with its versatile use in many different types of dishes. However, Italian dressing is oftentimes just as high in sugar and fat as other types like honey mustard or French.
Consider making your own Italian dressing at home with a simple mix of olive oil, vinegar, and Italian spices. At home, you can control how much sugar and sodium your dressing has as well as the type of healthy fat you choose. I love olive oil or avocado oil for a homemade salad dressing recipe that’s also healthy for your blood sugar!
Although this dressing may give you a sense of nostalgia, it’s not doing your blood sugar any favors. This kid favorite is oftentimes packed with fats and sugars that may keep your blood sugar elevated long after eating.
The fat in dressing slows down digestion and can prolong blood sugar highs if consumed with other high-carb foods. For example, in Ken’s Steak House Honey Mustard, a two-tablespoon serving packs 11 grams of fat and 6 grams of added sugar. For portion size reference, 2 tablespoons is equivalent to about the size of a ping pong ball.
So when you consider how many servings you’re using at one meal, it may be upwards of two or three times the recommended amount.
Here’s an example of healthy-appearing products that may have some sneaky sugars. Kathryn Bonilla Strickland, RDN, Plant-Centered Dietitian tells us, “This salad dressing is organic with no synthetic colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.” She continues, “However, it contains 8 grams of added sugar in a two-tablespoon serving size. Don’t let an organic label fool you into thinking a salad dressing is healthy and low in sugar for a person with diabetes.”