Does iceberg lettuce actually haven’t any dietary worth?


We’ll talk more about how the nutrition of iceberg lettuce compares to its rival greens in a minute. But first, another big reason for Iceberg’s bad reputation: the fact that it tends to get involved in foods and dishes that aren’t always considered to meet our collective standard of good-for-you. , notes Largeman-Roth. It’s usually tossed on things like nachos and burgers, or mixed with rich, creamy salad dressings, for example. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with eating nachos or burgers, and all foods have their place in a varied and balanced diet. But because they typically lack the nutrient profile and glowing health glow of a fiber-rich bowl of quinoa, these foods tend to be looked down upon in the nutrition world — and by extension, iceberg lettuce. has it too. (How we define “healthy eating” is pretty heavy handed anyway, given the influence of food culture and the reduction of important factors like joy and connection, access to food and culture.) Change the context of lettuce by, for example, sticking it in chicken and peppercorn fajitas or putting it in a wrap of hummus and veggies — foods that more people consider healthier — and it starts to look very different.

What is the difference between iceberg lettuce and regular lettuce?

Excellent question. By « regular » lettuce, let’s say we’re talking about things like romaine lettuce, red or green leaf lettuce, spinach, kale or arugula, etc. Nutritionally, all of these offerings are quite similar in that they are not a major source of macronutrients. As with other salad greens, there are not many carbohydrates in iceberg lettuce (only two grams per shredded cup), along with a negligible amount of protein (less than one gram) and virtually no fat. , according to USDA.

It is at the micronutrient level that the nutrition of iceberg lettuce begins to diverge. « Generally, it doesn’t pack a nutritional punch like darker greens do, » says Largeman-Roth. « Dark leafy greens have more nutrients, like iron, magnesium, folate, and fiber. »

A quick glance at the numbers confirms this. According to USDA, a cup of shredded iceberg lettuce contains less than a gram of fiber and only trace amounts of important vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K or iron. It’s also quite low in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in higher concentrations in many other leafy greens and play an important role in eye health.1

Darker leafy greens simply offer more of all of these micronutrients. Take kale, a true nutritional powerhouse, for example. It has over three times the fiber, nearly 10 times the vitamin A, 14 times the calcium, 16 times the vitamin K, and nearly 30 times the vitamin C, per USDA nutritional data. The differences in micronutrient content aren’t always so dramatic, but they still tend to be quite significant across the board. When you look at iceberg lettuce versus romaine, for example, romaine has about the same amount of fiber, but five times the vitamin K and three times the vitamin C, per USDA The data. Overall, just about any other green will have a higher concentration of micronutrients than iceberg.

What are the benefits of iceberg lettuce?

All of this might make it look like the iceberg is losing the leafy greens battle. But it still has some good stuff going for it, and both Feller and Largeman-Roth agree you should eat it if you enjoy it.

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