The Absolute Worst Salad Toppings for Weight Loss

The Absolute Worst Salad Toppings for Weight Loss

The Absolute Worst Salad Toppings for Weight Loss

A salad gives you the opportunity to not only get vitamins and minerals from the veggies – folic acid, vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium just to list a few –  but the high fiber makes the salad one of the best anti-inflammatory meals. “Always eat the rainbow,” Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, says. “Each color provides a different vitamin/ mineral profile. The darker and more vibrant, the higher the concentration,” she adds.


Gomer does not recommend croutons. “Never - it's just fried and salty bread.” They don’t score high on the nutritional value table – they are made from white bread and have refined grains, which contain almost no fiber or protein – but they do rank at the top when it comes to calories. Just half a cup contains about 100 calories. Swap the croutons for chickpeas of flaxseeds, which also reduce inflammation.



“Choose a healthy cracker option like Wasa, Ryvita, or Kavli,” Gomer says. Also, potato chips contain maltodextrin, a food additive that has been linked to digestive problems, according to research. Just one cup of tortilla chips contains almost 300 calories, according to USDA.


Having some bacon in you salad is not a good idea. It’s “bad for the heart (cholesterol and saturated fat) and the worst for weight loss,” Gomer says. There is too much fat in bacon, Dr. David Fischman, co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University, says. Nitrates help these foods keep their color for longer but they are not doing your body any favors. They can convert to nitrite, causing the formation of nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic chemicals, according to the CDC

Fatty dressings

“All regular full fat salad dressing is a bad choice for weight loss,” Gomer says. Many of the fat free are loaded with sugar and salt. “Pritikin sells delicious fat free, no salt added dressings in bottles or super convenient pouches that you can take on the go. Four flavors available at or through our website at”

Popular dressings


“Your best option is to keep the dressing to fewer than five ingredients,” Tricia Williams, executive chef, nutrition educator, culinary nutritionist & founder of Food Matters NYC, says. Most processed dressings – the kinds you’ll buy at the store and also the kinds you’ll see in delis – are “loaded with sugar, sodium, stabilizers and stuff you can’t even pronounce, which make them unhealthy choice,” she adds.



Too much cheese it not good for you because it is very high in calories, Dr. Fischman says. It has about 100 calories per ounce, on average, and a lot of fat –  6 to 9 grams per ounce, most of which is saturated, according to the University of California at Berkley. “No regular cheese but a sprinkling of fat free cheese is fine,” Gomer adds.  Avoid grated cheddar which is usually not organic, is loaded with sodium, and keeps you bloated, Williams says. 


They can be calorie dense bombs that turn your salad into the calorie content of a burger and fries, Gomer says. Olives contain 15-25 percent fat. Even though most of which is monosaturated, consuming too much fat can still lead to weight gain. Olive have high sodium content because they are cured or pickled in salt.



Avocadoes are high in dietary fat. You have probably heard they it’s the good kind of fat, but it’s still fat and calories. Fat provides 9 calories per gram compared with 4 calories per gram in protein and carbs – so eating too much avocado can pack on the pounds, according to Livestrong. Don’t overdo it – one avocado provides almost 30 grams of dietary fat and 322 calories.

Salted nuts

“All nuts are high calorie dense – about the most fattening food to eat— not bad for health if unsalted but never good for weight loss,” Gomer says. “One cup of any nut or seed is 800+ calories.” For example, just one ounce of macadamia nuts – about 12 of them – contain about 3 grams of saturated fat, according to USDA.

Cold cuts


“All cold cuts loaded with fat and salt,” Gomer says. “But low sodium or no salt added turkey breast from the deli is a better choice.”

Iceberg lettuce

“Light in color, this lettuce is susceptible to pests so lots of pesticides needed,” Gomer says. “Along with a much lower vitamin mineral profile. The dark leafy greens are the best - think spinach, romaine, kale, etc.” Cold cuts are so processed and contain too much sodium and preservatives, Williams says. “Stick to roasted chicken or grass-fed roast beef.”

Dried fruit


Fruits have sugar. But refined sugar is often added when they are dried. Most dried fruits, which are a more concentrated source of nutrients, are more than 50 percent sugar “Adding them to your salad is like adding candy to it,” Williams says. Among the dried fruits with the highest sugar content are currants, sweetened dried cherries and sweetened dried cranberries – both salad favorites.

Grilled chicken


This is the biggest mistake people make, Williams says. “They think grilled chicken is a healthy option but the dark charred marks the chicken gets during grilling make the meat carcinogenic.”



The kind of tuna salad you see in restaurants and delis where you can make your own salad is loaded with mayonnaise, Williams says. “Also, tuna is very high in mercury and is the least healthy fish.” The general rule, she adds, is that the larger the fish is, the more toxic it is. “Smaller white fish are better for your health.”



There is nothing wrong with organic corn that you eat in season, but the corn you get in stores and as toppings in salads usually comes from a can, which means it is loaded with sugar and salt, Williams says. This can cause a vicious unhealthy cycle that can take a huge toll on your body.