We’ll discuss extra about evaluating iceberg lettuce diet to its rival greens in a minute. However first, one other large motive for iceberg’s unhealthy rap: the truth that it tends to get entangled with meals and dishes that aren’t all the time seen as assembly our collective normal of excellent 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. In fact, there’s nothing really unsuitable with consuming nachos or burgers, and all meals have their place in a diverse, balanced weight-reduction plan. However as a result of they often don’t have the diet profile and glowing well being halo of, say, a fiber-rich quinoa bowl, these meals are typically appeared down upon within the diet world—and by extension, iceberg lettuce does too. (The way in which we outline “wholesome consuming” is fairly fraught anyway, given the affect of weight-reduction plan tradition and discounting of vital components 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 folks 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 comparable when it comes to 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 line with the USDA.
It’s within the micronutrient division that iceberg lettuce diet begins to diverge. “Typically, 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 have a look at the numbers confirms this. In response to the USDA, a cup of shredded iceberg lettuce accommodates lower than one gram of fiber, and solely hint quantities of vital nutritional vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin C, vitamin Okay, or iron. It’s additionally fairly low in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, that are current in larger concentrations in lots of different leafy greens and play an vital position in eye well being.1
Darker leafy greens simply supply extra of, properly, all of these micronutrients. Take veritable dietary powerhouse kale, for example. It boasts over 3 occasions as a lot fiber, nearly 10 occasions as a lot vitamin A, 14 occasions as a lot calcium, 16 occasions as a lot vitamin Okay, and nearly 30 occasions as a lot vitamin C, per USDA diet information. The variations in micronutrient content material aren’t all the time fairly so dramatic, however they nonetheless are typically fairly important throughout the board. Whenever you have a look at iceberg lettuce versus romaine, for instance, romaine has about the identical quantity of fiber, however 5 occasions as a lot vitamin Okay and 3 times as a lot vitamin C, per USDA information. On the entire, just about another inexperienced can have a larger 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 you must eat it in the event you take pleasure in it.