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The Best of the Light Salad Dressings

Keep your salad luscious and low-fat
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Keep your salad luscious and low-fat continued...

Although a variety of dressings is always welcome, oil-and-vinegar based dressings, for the most part, have the nutritional advantage. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2003 found that women who used oil-and-vinegar salad dressings frequently (at least five times a week) had a 50% lower risk of fatal coronary artery disease than those who rarely ate this type of dressing. This link persisted even after the researchers adjusted for heart disease risk factors and consumption of vegetables.

The good news is that whichever type of dressing you prefer, you can find good-tasting, lower-calorie versions in every supermarket. Here are six tasty, store-bought dressings we tested, all with 8 grams or less of fat per 2 tablespoons:

  • Hidden Valley Ranch Light
  • Ken's Steakhouse Lite Raspberry
  • Wishbone Red Wine
  • Wishbone Raspberry Hazelnut Vinaigrette
  • Newman's Own Lighten Up! Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Newman's Own Lighten Up! Lowfat Sesame Ginger

But the list certainly doesn't end there. In the table below, you'll find dozens more bottled dressings that meet our "light" criteria of 8 grams or less of fat per serving, along with calorie counts (dressings with more sweeteners are higher in calories) and sodium tally (look for those with 300 mg or less). We've also listed the type of oil used to make the dressing. If you choose types with canola or olive oil, you'll be getting the healthier monounsaturated fat, and, in the case of canola oil, good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids as well.

Of course, choosing the right salad dressing is only half of the battle. It's just as important to pay attention to the amount of dressing you add. The serving size on the label of your salad dressing may say 2 tablespoons, but lots of people use twice that amount. (If you're eating out and order your dressing on the side, use the small spoon and measure about three spoonfuls over your salad. This will get you about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing.)

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