June 20, 2024

This post has been updated since its initial publish date to include more expert insight.

The right condiments and sauces can make or break a meal—and as it turns out, they can make or break your health, too, especially when it comes to reaching your weight loss goals. While many condiments may seem like a must-have in your kitchen, some of them can be detrimental to your overall well-being due to high-fat contents, sodium levels, cholesterol, and more. Among these unhealthy sauces is one popular dressing.

To learn more, we spoke to dietitians Kiran Campbell, a registered dietitian, and Melissa Mitri, a registered dietitian and nutritionist about the widely-enjoyed, high-fat condiment you should stop using if you want to lose weight: ranch dressing. Read on to find out more about this super-fattening condiment!

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Hidden Valley ranch dressing bottle


Ranch Dressing Is The Super-Fattening Condiment You Shouldn’t Use

Ranch dressing is one condiment doctors agree you’re better off cutting out of your diet, especially if you’re trying to shed some pounds.

Campbell notes that ranch dressing is a highly popular condiment within the United States. “In fact,” she says, “According to the New York Times, 40% of Americans named ranch as their favorite dressing.” If you consider yourself a ranch lover, though, we have some unfortunate news: it’s one of the worst condiments you can eat.

One of the reasons ranch is so bad for you is the fact that it’s extremely fattening and high in calories. “Just a 2 tablespoon serving packs about 129 calories, 12 grams of total fat, and almost 3 grams of saturated fat,” Mitri warns, noting that saturated fat is “the bad” kind.

And that’s just if you’re eating the recommended amount! As Campbell points out, many Americans ignore proper portion sizes and, in fact, will consume much more ranch than a serving’s worth. “The issue with this fatty condiment is not only with the sheer number of ranch users but also with how often and how much is being used in a sitting,” she explains. “The numbers listed on the nutrition facts label are often a mere fraction of what is really being consumed.”

Vegetable platter with ranch dressing


That means eating ranch dressing on a regular basis can seriously hold you back on your weight loss journey. “These calories add to your waistline without providing any satiety or nutrition, which makes it easy to go over your daily allotment,” Mitri explains.

However, there’s more at risk than just your waistline when it’s come to this favored condiment. “The health risks associated with consuming ranch dressing go beyond just adding dietary fat,” Campbell says. “It also adds sodium, sugar, saturated fat, and cholesterol. The higher the intake of these harmful constituents, the higher one’s risk of developing weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, gastrointestinal issues, and even depression.” Yikes! If you’re trying to slim down or just care about your overall health, maybe it is worth opting for another, healthier dressing or dipping sauce.

Pouring ranch dressing on wedge salad


So, what sort of alternatives are out there? Campbell recommends finding your inner chef and whipping up your own salad dressing at home. Mitri offers similar advice: “If you love salads, opt for a simple olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice,” she says.

The Bottom Line

As a widely-enjoyed condiment, ranch dressing may feel irreplaceable. However, you may be surprised by how flavorful—and fun to make!—homemade salad dressing can be. And trust us: your body will thank you for it, too.


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