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If you’ve crafted the perfect keto-friendly salad, you definitely don’t want to ruin it with a sugar-laden dressing full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Fortunately, plenty of highly nutritious low-carb salad dressings on the market can keep you in ketosis while not killing any flavor.
If you’ve gotten bored of simple olive oil and vinegar dressings, we’ve got you covered with a list of the top seven best keto salad dressings to keep your meal tasty and exciting.
To qualify as keto, a salad dressing will need to be higher in fat, low in protein, and very low in carbohydrates—including no or very low amounts of added sugar.
Many conventional storebought dressings contain added sugar and low-quality oils, like soybean and canola oil.
It’s also important to look at the carbohydrate level compared to serving size.
If you notoriously overdress your salads, you’re likely exceeding the typical recommended serving size of two tablespoons—therefore, if a dressing has 4g of carbs per serving, keep in mind that you may be doubling that if your lettuce is drowning in ranch.
One of our trusted brands at The Nutrition Insider, Primal Kitchen provides a wide array of keto-certified, paleo, certified gluten-free, Whole30-approved, and sugar-free salad dressings.
With all of those impressive certifications, you may wonder if the taste lives up to its nutritional values—and it does.
Although Primal Kitchen’s ranch is a bit thinner than a traditional ranch, the flavors are still spot-on, and it is a great pantry staple for anyone following a keto diet.
Calories (per 2 Tbsp): 100
Not to be confused with Primal Kitchen, The New Primal Citrus Zest salad dressing is keto-friendly, Whole30 approved, paleo, and dairy- and soy-free.
This dressing has fewer calories and fat than others but can still qualify as keto—just remember not to overdo it on the portion size to keep the sugar level at 2 grams.
Although the dressing states it can also be used as a marinade, you’d likely want to avoid this route if you’re trying to remain in ketosis because of the larger quantities used when marinating.
With no sugar and only 1g of carbs per serving, this dressing would also make an excellent marinade for chicken or fish dishes or a topper to drizzle on roasted vegetables.
If you like your keto meals with a bit of a kick, Tessemae’s Habanero Ranch is the dressing for you—we’re thinking taco salad is the right move for this one.
With 20g of fat per serving, this is one of the most calorically dense dressings on the list, so be aware of portion sizes.
Although keto diets embrace fat intake, it’s still possible to overconsume calories—even healthy ones—which can impede weight loss if that is your goal.
Another dressing with a bit of a bite, Sir Kensington’s Buffalo Ranch contains a kick of cayenne pepper that would be perfect for making chicken wings, buffalo cauliflower bites, or using as a dipping sauce for celery.
All of the fat in this dressing comes from high-oleic sunflower oil, which is a step up above oils like soybean and canola.
Although sunflower oil is made from a seed, the “high-oleic” part means that it has more heart-healthy oleic acid—the kind found in olive oil—than typical sunflower oil, making it a better option.
The lesser-known Brick House—created by Chef Bricker of Indianapolis—boasts several tasty salad dressings that fit the keto-friendly bill, including this Creamy Garlic Herb.
This dairy-free dressing gets its creaminess from organic egg yolks, and although it is sugar-free, it contains dried organic stevia leaves to add a subtle sweetness.
Primal Kitchen’s keto-friendly salad dressings are so good they deserve another mention, and this time it’s their dairy-free Caesar dressing.
This creamy and slightly tangy dressing is made primarily with avocado oil, organic herbs and spices, organic eggs, apple cider vinegar, and nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor.
For reference, all of Primal Kitchen’s dressings are keto-friendly dressings, even the Honey Mustard, which does contain 2g of sugar per serving in the form of honey per serving, so keep that in mind when planning out a day on keto.
First used to treat epilepsy in children over a century ago, the ketogenic diet (known by most as “keto”) has taken the wellness world by storm in recent years, typically touted as a way to reduce body weight, fat, or inflammation.
In simplest terms, the keto diet is very low-carbohydrate and high in fat.
Most keto dieters follow a macronutrient ratio of 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 75% fat, although the “macros” can vary widely from person to person, especially based on exercise level.
A diet with 5% carbohydrates typically translates to 20-50gper day; for reference, one medium-sized banana contains about 25g of carbs.
This carbohydrate reduction triggers your body to enter into a state of ketosis, which is a different metabolic state than what we usually use for energy.
Typically, we turn dietary carbohydrates into glucose or use the stored form of carbohydrates called glycogen as fuel.
But, after a few days of significantly limited carbohydrate intake, your glycogen stores will run out, and your body’s fuel will need to come from fat.
When you’re in ketosis, the body produces energy by creating compounds called ketone bodies, which are made from a process called fatty acid oxidation.
The three main ketone bodies are acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone, made in the liver during limited glucose availability.
Essentially, ketosis is a backup program that our bodies have developed over time to create energy in cases of starvation or fasting, but it is now used by people trying to lose weight or improve health in some capacity.
Keto-friendly salad dressings will have high amounts of fat, low amounts of carbohydrates, and no added sugar.
Brands with keto salad dressings include Primal Kitchen, New Primal, Chosen Foods, Tessemae’s, Sir Kensington’s, and Brick House.
It depends on the ranch dressing, as many conventional store-bought ranch dressings will have added sugar.
Brands with keto-friendly ranch dressings include Primal Kitchen, New Primal, Sir Kensington’s, and Tessemae’s.
Most keto dressings will have a similar amount of carbs, ranging from 1-3g per serving.
Salad dressings that utilize fruit in any way will have more carbs, as well as dressings that use sweeteners, like honey mustard, thousand island, and sweet onion dressings.
Some Italian dressings will contain added sugar, like Wishbone’s Italian, which has 4g of added sugar per two-tablespoon serving.
Conversely, Primal Kitchen’s Italian dressing has 0g of added sugar per serving and is keto-friendly.
Again, it depends on the dressing.
Balsamic vinegar inherently has some sugar in it, as it’s made from concentrated grapes, but some balsamic dressings have less sugar than others and can be considered keto, like Primal Kitchen’s Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Paoli A. Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe?. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014;11(2):2092-2107. Published 2014 Feb 19. doi:10.3390/ijerph110202092
Energy drinks and sugary snacks may be louder, sweeter, and faster-acting than natural sources of sugar, but rarely are those benefits conferred without some form of reckoning down the road.
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