Salad dressings such as ranch dressing are often not allowed on diets due to the fat content. But what about on Keto? Keto is a diet that focuses on higher amounts of healthy fats so does this mean that ranch dressing is allowed? The short answer is, yes, ranch dressing is a great addition to your Keto diet. However, there are some factors that you need to consider before you dump half a bottle on your next salad. The following article will guide you through which types of ranch dressing you should incorporate into your Keto diet as well as explaining the reasoning behind ranch dressing being a Keto-friendly condiment.
Overview of Keto
Before you can understand why ranch dressing is Keto-friendly, you first need to know how Keto works and the logical reasons behind the foods it encourages and discourages. At its heart, Keto is an ultra-low-carb diet; however, it’s not built this way in order to make you feel deprived of your pizza and bread. There’s scientific backing to the Keto diet that originates in the offices of doctors years ago who were looking for a meal plan that would help treat diabetes.
The typical high carb diet that many people eat today fuels your body by creating glucose in your liver. Glucose, or blood sugar, is very fast to create and this makes it your body’s preferred energy source. However, it’s just as quick to be used up as it is to create and as anyone who’s ever eaten a big pasta dinner knows, a few hours after you’ve eaten you feel tired with a bad case of brain fog and some serious hunger pains. When you’re looking to lose weight you know that hunger is one of the biggest obstacles you’ll have to overcome.
In addition to making you hungry, high carb diets actually contribute to weight gain because your body is built for survival and any carbs that aren’t needed immediately for glucose production are stored away for later use as body fat. This survival mechanism comes from a time where we didn’t know when our next meal would be coming. In those days, it made sense to have a backup supply of energy to keep us alive. In modern-day society, this survival mechanism is more frustrating than it is helpful and to make matters worse, your body stubbornly refuses to use this stored fat which makes it hard to get rid of through diet and exercise alone.
Instead of starving yourself in order to get your body to release its grip on your stored fat, the Keto diet tricks your body into thinking that there isn’t enough food by limiting the specific food that helps it create glucose. By limiting the number of carbohydrates you eat to 20-25g of net carbs a day you put your body in a state known as ketosis. Ketosis allows your body to create an energy source called ketones from your stored fat cells. Ketones solve many of the problems that are caused by fueling with glucose.
When your body is running off of ketones you get a steady supply of energy. The majority of us have plenty of stored fat to burn away so our bodies don’t have to send out frequent requests for food making us feel hungry. This steady supply of energy helps eliminate a lot of the sugar highs and slumps that you associate with carbs and this gives you the energy you need to exercise. It also helps clear up the brain fog that hovers over you when you eat a carb-rich diet and gives you a sense of mental clarity and focus.
On the Keto diet, the majority of your calories will be coming from healthy fats. Up to 80% of your calories should be sourced from nuts, seeds, healthy oils (such as extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil), and lean meats. This is a big switch from the traditional diet where fat is avoided like the plague. In order to stay in ketosis, your body needs fat so that it can turn it into ketones for energy. The key is to focus on healthy fats.
Only 5% of your calories will come from carbs while you’re on Keto. You won’t have to actively work to incorporate carbs into your diet because the majority of them will come from places that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of such as your vegetables, dairy and meat. It’s very important to keep track of your net carbs because if you eat too many of them your body will be kicked out of ketosis.
Protein makes up the last 10-15% of your calories. Good sources of protein when you’re on Keto are lean meats and fish. If you make sure that the majority of your calories come from fat and that you’re not consuming more than 20-25g of net carbs daily then the protein in your diet should automatically level itself out correctly.
Is Ranch Keto?
The short answer is that, yes, ranch dressing is Keto. However, there are some things that you should take into consideration. Ranch dressing is often high in fats, but that doesn’t mean that it’s high in the right fats. The fats that are in store-bought salad dressings are usually saturated fats. Unlike unsaturated fat, these fats raise your bad cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol levels making them an unhealthy type of fat. That doesn’t mean that saturated fats are completely banned on Keto, but it does mean that you should limit them whenever you can and stick to healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds and avocados.
There are often ingredients in store-bought dressings that aren’t very healthy and might not be best when you’re on Keto so it’s important to read the ingredient list carefully. Clean Keto asks that you steer clear of preservatives and quick “Keto” meals that are pre-packaged on grocery store shelves. Ranch dressing is no different. Because it’s man-made, packaged and sitting on a store shelf it means that it’s full of ingredients that don’t add to your daily nutrients and it may even contain unhealthy ingredients.
Types of ranch dressing to avoid on Keto
When you’re looking to buy a bottle of ranch dressing from the store you should steer clear of any that are labelled “light”, “low-fat” or “low-sodium”. These varieties often have added sugars that may not be visible on the ingredients list that might throw your body out of ketosis. They also often try to make up for the fat or sodium that they remove by adding preservatives that aren’t healthy.
What about the packets of ranch seasoning?
Because clean Keto asks that you avoid any processed or packaged foods, pre-mixed packets of ranch seasoning aren’t your best option. Ranch seasoning packets often contain MSG, or Monosudamin Glutamate, which is a popular food additive. It enhances the flavor of a lot of foods and you might have seen it in your favorite Chinese food recipe. It’s also the source of a major food dispute.
Some people claim that it’s responsible for nasty side effects such as intense headaches and even cancer. However, studies over the last few years have begun to show that it may not be deserving of the bad rap it’s gotten in the food world. However, if you’re erring on the side of caution you should steer clear of pre-packaged ranch packets.
Homemade Keto Ranch Dressing
If you want to be 100% sure that your ranch dressing fits your Keto meal plan properly then the best thing to do is make it yourself! There are plenty of recipes floating around on the internet and they all use simple ingredients with easy to follow directions. In fact, ranch dressing is so easy to make yourself that there’s really no excuse not to!
If you’re looking to make your own substitute for the pre-made seasoning mixes it couldn’t be easier. Mix up a jar using spices that you probably already have so that you can make your own ranch dressing any time by scooping some of your mix in with some sour cream or mayonnaise.
All you need is some dried parsley, onion powder, dill, onion flakes and garlic powder along with salt, pepper, chives and buttermilk powder. You might not have buttermilk powder available; however, you can find it in the grocery aisle that sells powdered milk, or you can easily find it on Amazon. Powdered ranch dressing will store in your pantry for 6 months if it’s kept cool and dark which allows you to add healthy ranch dressing to any of your Keto recipes.
If you need to whip up a batch of creamy ranch dressing and you don’t have any of the powder pre-made it’s super simple. All you’ll need is some sour cream, buttermilk and mayonnaise from your fridge along with some dill, chives, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and a hint of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
If you need to substitute a different type of milk you can use nut milk such as almond or soy. You can also use avocado in place of mayonnaise if you want an extra helping of heart-healthy fat. This dressing will keep for up to one week in the fridge.
Ranch dressing is Keto friendly. However, it’s much healthier when you make it yourself. It’s super easy to make both the dried ranch seasoning and the creamy ranch dressing which allows you to monitor the ingredients you put in so that you have better control over your Keto macros. If you’re in a pinch it’s good to know that buying a bottle from your local grocery store won’t kick you out of ketosis and you can enjoy it without worrying.