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One Salad Please, With Extra Fat

The good, the bad and the ugly things we learned about our bodies today

You think you’re being pretty healthy ordering that kale salad, do you? Daintily dipping each leafy morsel in that lite Italian dressing? Wrong. WRONG! Sure, it’s probably better than ordering a cheeseburger. But it’s not as healthy as it could be, and that’s because it might not have enough fat on it.

We’re not saying you should add a dollop of room-temperature lard — that’s not the move. We’re talking good fat, here: Olive oil, for example, a mostly monounsaturated fat loaded with antioxidants, is your friend.

In a study out of Iowa State University, researchers analyzed twelve women who each ate five salads with varying levels of oil. The more oil that was added to their salads, the easier it became for the women to absorb the salads’ nutrients.

“The best way to explain it,” said Professor Wendy White, who led the study, “would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption.”

Don’t add more than 32 grams — i.e., three spoonfuls worth — of fat to your salads, however: That number represents the point at which nutrient absorption reached its maximum. Anything over and participants began to experience diminishing returns, and probably oil-overload. Guess you really can have too much of a good thing.

So the next time you’re hitting the salad bar at Sizzler remember: Well-dressed salads are happy and healthy salads.

A few other things we learned about our bodies today: