We’ll speak extra about evaluating iceberg lettuce diet to its rival greens in a minute. However first, one other huge cause for iceberg’s unhealthy rap: the truth that it tends to become involved with meals and dishes that aren’t all the time seen as assembly our collective commonplace of fine for you, notes Largeman-Roth. It’s usually thrown up to the mark like nachos and burgers, or tossed with wealthy, creamy salad dressings, for example. After all, there’s nothing really flawed with consuming nachos or burgers, and all meals have their place in a different, balanced weight-reduction plan. However as a result of they normally don’t have the diet profile and glowing well being halo of, say, a fiber-rich quinoa bowl, these meals are usually seemed down upon within the diet world—and by extension, iceberg lettuce does too. (The best way we outline “wholesome consuming” is fairly fraught anyway, given the affect of weight-reduction plan tradition and discounting of essential elements like pleasure and connection, meals entry, and tradition.) Change the lettuce’s context by, say, sticking it in hen and pepper fajitas or tucking it right into a hummus and veggie wrap—meals that extra individuals see as being more healthy—and it begins to look an entire lot totally different.
What’s the distinction between iceberg lettuce and common lettuce?
Nice query. By “common” lettuce, let’s say we’re speaking about issues like romaine, purple or inexperienced leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, or arugula, and so forth. Nutritionally talking, all of those choices are fairly related by way of not being a serious supply of macronutrients. As with different salad greens, there aren’t many carbs in iceberg lettuce (simply two grams per shredded cup), in addition to a negligible quantity of protein (lower than one gram) and just about no fats, in accordance with the USDA.
It’s within the micronutrient division that iceberg lettuce diet begins to diverge. “Generally, it doesn’t pack a dietary punch like darker greens do,” Largeman-Roth explains. “The darkish leafy greens include extra vitamins, like iron, magnesium, folate and fiber.”
A fast take a look at the numbers confirms this. In response to the USDA, a cup of shredded iceberg lettuce incorporates lower than one gram of fiber, and solely hint quantities of essential nutritional vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin C, vitamin Ok, or iron. It’s additionally fairly low in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, that are current in increased concentrations in lots of different leafy greens and play an essential position in eye well being.1
Darker leafy greens simply provide extra of, effectively, all of these micronutrients. Take veritable dietary powerhouse kale, for example. It boasts over 3 occasions as a lot fiber, virtually 10 occasions as a lot vitamin A, 14 occasions as a lot calcium, 16 occasions as a lot vitamin Ok, and virtually 30 occasions as a lot vitamin C, per USDA diet knowledge. The variations in micronutrient content material aren’t all the time fairly so dramatic, however they nonetheless are usually fairly vital throughout the board. While you take a look at iceberg lettuce versus romaine, for instance, romaine has about the identical quantity of fiber, however 5 occasions as a lot vitamin Ok and thrice as a lot vitamin C, per USDA knowledge. On the entire, just about some other inexperienced can have a better focus of micronutrients than iceberg.
What are the advantages of iceberg lettuce?
All of this would possibly make it sound like iceberg is dropping the battle of the leafy greens. Nevertheless it nonetheless has some great things going for it, and each Feller and Largeman-Roth agree that it's best to eat it in the event you take pleasure in it.