Hotter weather usually means more time spent outside, and when it comes to cooking we either resort to outdoor barbecues or no-cook solutions. Ranch dressing is often the go-to dip for raw vegetables, so we thought it would be fun (and useful) to look at one of the most popular brands out there and compare an original version with its fat-free counterpart.
Nutrition Faceoff: Hidden Valley Original Ranch vs. Fat-Free Ranch
|Hidden Valley Original Ranch||Hidden Valley Fat-Free Ranch|
|Serving size:||2 tablespoons||2 tablespoons|
|Calories:||140 kcal||30 kcal|
|Fat:||14 g||0 g|
|Sat Fat:||2.5 g||0 g|
|Protein:||1 g||0 g|
|Total Carbs:||2 g (1 g sugars)||6 g (3 g sugars)|
|Sodium:||260 mg||310 mg|
Dietitian’s Take: Hidden Valley Original Ranch vs. Fat-Free Ranch
- In the Original Ranch, the first 7 ingredients on the label are: vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), water, egg yolk, sugar, cultured nonfat buttermilk, natural flavors (milk, soy). In addition there are 14 more ingredients labeled “less than 1% of” including spices, preservatives, artificial flavorings, MSG.
- In the Fat-Free version, the first 7 ingredients are water, corn syrup, maltodextrin, sugar, modified food starch, buttermilk, and salt. There are 22 additional ingredients labeled “less than 2% of” including spices, preservatives, artificial color, and MSG.
Our Pick: Original Ranch
We’re not generally fans of bottled dressing, but if we had to choose between these two versions, we would stick to the Original even though it has more calories and fat. Why? Making a product fat-free often means adding a bunch of other things to approximate the flavor and texture of what has been taken out. That’s why Gloria called for Un-Fat-Free in her book, Go UnDiet! In the case of the Fat-Free Ranch, you are essentially paying for water with some starches, sweeteners and other food additives added. Among these 2, we’d rather stick to the Original becuase of its shorter (albeit still rather long) ingredient list and because it has less sodium.
The true winner in our opinion? Making your own ranch dressing from scratch. We did this in one of our No More Packaged Foods features to show you how easy it is, and how much cheaper it is. Be sure to check it out.