Monday, June 25, 2012

Truth or Fiction: We Need Fat on a Salad to Absorb Nutrients? Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette.

I'm no stranger to the theory that in order to absorb vitamins and minerals from vegetables you need to have some fat in your salad. Well, that story is rearing its ugly head again. I just saw this article and this video on YouTube, which were being tweeted about this past weekend. 

I'm kind of befuddled. Here are the thoughts that are racing through my mind right now:

"In a human trial, researchers fed subjects salads topped off with saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat-based dressings and tested their blood for absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids. . . In the test, 29 people were fed salads dressed with butter as a saturated fat, canola oil as a monounsaturated fat and corn oil as a polyunsaturated fat. Each salad was served with 3 grams, 8 grams or 20 grams of fat from dressing." 

Why wasn't there another test group fed salad with no oil or fat on their dressing to see what their absorption rate of carotenoids were? Or how about fats from sources other than highly processed ones (nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.)?

The guy in the video even said himself, they were interested in the difference between different oils and butter.

He never once mentioned comparing a salad with no oil on it to a salad with fat on it. So why is this study being billed as "Study: No-fat, low-fat dressings don't get most nutrients out of salads?" How did they know that when they didn't even study no-fat salad dressings? (I have come to find out that this is just a given now due to some prior studies at Tufts and Ohio State).

This title even contradicts the findings of the study itself, which are "monounsaturated fat-rich dressings, such as canola and olive oil-based dressings, promoted the equivalent carotenoid absorption at 3 grams of fat as it did 20 grams."

And if they really were interested in testing fat with salads, why not include fat from whole sources as well (like avocado, nuts and seeds)? Why were only highly processed forms of fat tested?

The only thing I'm left thinking is who is this team of researchers really working for? "The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the research" Oh yes, they are so trustworthy! They are the same people telling us to drink glasses of cow's milk for strong teeth and bones.

Yes, I'm going to listen to them! And I'll drown my salad in olive or canola oil (did you get a load of how much oil the dude poured on that lame salad in the video? That's enough oil for a small country! Is that some kind of subliminal message the researcher is trying to send us . . . blanket your salad in oil?)


I'll be sticking with my no-oil (or butter!) dressings, thank you. Doesn't mean they are fat free though. Last I checked, chia seeds have fat (although this whole batch of dressing has only 4.5 grams of fat coming from the 1 Tbsp of chia).

Summertime is Salad Time: Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette

Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette
makes 3 cups

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2 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp chia seed
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
1/4 cup fresh basil (packed)
10 drops NuNaturals liquid stevia

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Summer Strawberry Salad
based on a salad I had at Chris-Anna's house

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fresh greens of choice: spring mix, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, spinach or a mix of any, about 3 cups per person
fresh strawberries, sliced, about 2 large per person
hearts of palm, sliced, about 1 6" piece per person
optional: pistachios, about 1-2 Tbsp per person
Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette

Place greens, strawberries, hearts of palm and optional pistachios into a large bowl. Toss with Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette.

I still haven't answered my own question, "Do We Need Fat on a Salad to Absorb Nutrients?"

Do you make a point of having fat (maybe from avocado, nuts or seeds, chia or flaxseed) with your salads because of something that you have heard about nutrient absorption?

I love how Debby from Happy Healthy Long Life explains this whole drama in this blog posting. It's a must read if this is still a question in your mind.

Or are you following the Esselstyn or strict McDougall plan where no fats at all (except on rare occassion) are recommended?

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