When trying to lose weight, one of the first things many people do is reach for a salad. If you are one of them, you may be surprised to know that doing so may not be as beneficial as you think. There are some very real dangers of salads that are rarely talked about, yet are important for anyone who wishes to shed pounds or improve their health to know. Here are a few that are worth mentioning.
High in Fat and Sodium
One of the biggest dangers of salads is the fact that people automatically assume they are healthy, even when slathered with loads of fatty dressings or topped with sodium-laden toppings such as bacon bits. Registered dietician Hillary Irwin claims portion control is key, so rather than having a huge salad filled with lots of toppings, choose a smaller one that contains a variety of greens. Limit the number of pickled vegetables such as olives and banana peppers, which are notoriously high in sodium.
Dangers of Salads with Low Nutritional Value
Let’s say you choose wisely, adding only fresh greens and vegetables to your plate. This means the dangers of salads have been mitigated, right? Actually, that is not necessarily the case. If this type of salad comprises most of your diet or is regularly eaten in place of a meal, you might suffer serious nutritional deficiencies such as:
- Osteoporosis – A Pennsylvania study showed that 82% of all patients with this condition consume less than the recommended amount of calcium daily.
- Anemia – Registered dietician Kate Patton claims that too little iron can result in anemia, in which case your blood is unable to carry oxygen efficiently.
- Complications with pregnancy – The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends women of child-bearing age consume high amounts of folic acid to prevent birth defects.
- Weakness, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting which are telltale signs of a magnesium deficiency.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency which Harvard Health claims is becoming increasingly more common. Being deficient in B12 can lead to numbness in the legs and feet, as well as problems with balance.
- Liver, kidney, or other organ dysfunction due to a lack of potassium, which may also lead to an abnormal heart rhythm.
May Cause Weight Gain
Another problem with eating “healthy” salads is the fact that they are extremely low in calories. While it’s true that cutting calories can help you lose weight, consuming too few of them might actually cause you to gain weight instead. A study published in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine claims that your metabolism slows down when you consume too few calories. Once you begin eating normally again, you will subsequently gain weight quicker, as your body is accustomed to functioning on fewer calories.
The dangers of salads are not to be taken lightly, as consuming too many could create more health problems and make you feel worse than if you had not eaten healthy. As with anything, moderation is the key to enjoying good food such as salads without sacrificing your well-being in the process.