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 dangerous rap: the truth that it tends to get entangled with meals and dishes that aren’t all the time seen as assembly our collective customary of fine for you, notes Largeman-Roth. It’s sometimes thrown up to the mark like nachos and burgers, or tossed with wealthy, creamy salad dressings, as an illustration. After all, there’s nothing truly improper with consuming nachos or burgers, and all meals have their place in a various, balanced food regimen. 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 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 food regimen tradition and discounting of vital elements like pleasure and connection, meals entry, and tradition.) Change the lettuce’s context by, say, sticking it in rooster 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 completely 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, crimson 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 significant 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. “On the whole, 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 keeping with the USDA, a cup of shredded iceberg lettuce comprises lower than one gram of fiber, and solely hint quantities of vital 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 greater 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, as an illustration. It boasts over 3 instances as a lot fiber, virtually 10 instances as a lot vitamin A, 14 instances as a lot calcium, 16 instances as a lot vitamin Ok, and virtually 30 instances 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 usually fairly important throughout the board. Once you have a look at iceberg lettuce versus romaine, for instance, romaine has about the identical quantity of fiber, however 5 instances as a lot vitamin Ok and 3 times as a lot vitamin C, per USDA information. On the entire, just about another inexperienced may 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. However it nonetheless has some good things going for it, and each Feller and Largeman-Roth agree that you must eat it in case you take pleasure in it.