Salad: what you put ON it is just as important as what you put IN it.
Ranch, for example, often contains soybean oil, modified corn starch, xanthan gum, phosphoric acid, monosodium glutamate, calcium disodium (EDTA), polysorbate 60, disodium guanylate and soy lecithin.
So what do all these common condiment ingredients do to your body?
Here’s a breakdown:
1. Modified Corn Starch
As of 2015, 92% of non-organic corn grown in the United States is genetically modified (1).
A previously censored study demonstrated that GMO corn, with and without use of monsanto’s roundup herbicide, caused liver and kidney malfunction, cancer and death in rats (2).
If this isn’t bad enough, modified cornstarch is even more chemically altered so that it can act as a thickening agent.
2. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is known to trigger immune response (3). This means that your body is trying to attack the very thing you’re trying to feed it. This is an instinctive warning to avoid this ingredient.
It can cause allergic reactions including headaches and gastrointestinal discomforts such as bloating and diarrhea.
In fact, xanthan gum is a major cause of most non-specific food sensitivities and reactions.
3. Phosphoric Acid
Phosphoric acid is a corrosive chemical that can cause irritation and even burn the eyes, nose and throat (4). Workers must wear protective clothing to interact with this chemical.
Ingestion can lead to abdominal pain, severe gastrointestinal irritation and even internal bleeding. The NIH warns: “If this chemical has been swallowed, seek medical attention immediately.”
Phosphoric acid ingestion is also a risk factor for developing hypocalcemia in postmenopausal women (5).
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a popular ingredient in Chinese cooking which is meant to enhance flavour.
However, it’s been shown to cause swelling and death of mature neurons (6). This is because monosodium glutamate is an excitotoxin (7), meaning that it causes cell to die by overstimulating them. This is the cause of the headache you may suffer from after eating MSG.
MSG can cause chest pain, muscle fatigue and stomach upset (8). It’s also associated with obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (9).
5. Calcium Disodium (EDTA)
Calcium Disodium (EDTA) is used as a preservative in food and cosmetics. It’s commonly found in canned foods, pickled foods, mayonnaise, margarine and salad dressing.
It’s been known to cause allergic reactions, vitamin malabsorption, skin rashes and possible kidney damage (10).
Easy Healthy Ranch Dressing Recipe
- ½ to ¾ cup Plain Full Fat Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
- 1 tsp (or more to taste) of dried dill weed
- Sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 6 TBSP organic olive oil
- 2 TBSP organic Parmesan
- Put yogurt, garlic and spices in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Slowly and carefully, add olive oil so that it emulsifies.
This recipe stores up to 1 week in the fridge.
- Use 2 tsp of fresh herbs like mint, cilantro or basil to change up the flavour.
- Try avocado instead of yogurt for a vegan version.
- Use Italian seasoning instead of dill and double the Parmesan for a more Caesar-like dressing.
Anytime you buy processed food at the grocery store, make sure to always read the label: you may be surprised at what ingredients you’ll find!