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The Iceberg Lettuce Nutrition Myth



Have you heard the news? Iceberg lettuce is a piece of cardboard -nutritionally speaking.

All the savvy magazines and TV shows will tell you so.

But they’re wrong.

The belief that iceberg lettuce is nutritionally worthless is based around the false premise that nutrition has anything to do with serving size.

It does not. What matters is nutritionally density, and in this way of measuring its value, iceberg stands in the same league as red leaf and romaine lettuce.

This this video I walk you through how iceberg lettuce stands up against red leaf and romaine.

Check out the original iceberg article:

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36 Comments

  1. If iceberg is the only lettuce I like, then I'm just gonna have to eat it and hope that there are undiscovered nutrients in it. lol

  2. I have a lady I look after in the nursing home and she has a head of ice berg lettuce every day. She is 96 and has no health problems.

  3. Iceberg may be low in nutrients, but because of its easier digestibility your body at least obtains those nutrients. Where as nutrient dense leaves such as romaine, arugula, radicchio, and others become harder to digest for older people that most of the nutrients end up down the porcelain throne.

  4. Even if its not that much nutrition in it it gives you allot off energy when you eat it fresh. and alive. I feel that fresh plants that are alive no matter how much or little nutrition they have gives me allot off energy. allot! more than plants that have been laying in the store for a long time and are quite dead even it has huge ammount off nutrition compared to an iceberglettuce. I really feel that plants that are fresh and alive gives waaayyy more energy then the actual nutrition in plants that have been stored a long time. And something makes sense about that, that alive food gives pure energy too the cells more then dead food no matter how much nutrition it is in it, more then chia seeds that is said to be super high energy source only beacuse off the high nutrition… And eating foods that are fresh and alive will allso absorb nutrition into the cells more effective, Allso cuz allot off the active cell energy in alive plants are absorbed by the sun, the sun energy in plants that makes them alive is what makes the nutrition alive and active. When the plant is picked it looses the sun energy that makes it alive over time. I think that fresh iceberg lettuce is grate for enegy anyway how little nutrition it has in it cuz the small ammount off nutrition is active and the sun energy from the plant itself are absorbed by the cells that make the cells alive too absorb the active nutrition.I really belive that is true!

  5. Calorie counting is a myth the chemicals that are put in processed foods and soft drinks and city water is what is making people fat. In the 1800's  and earlier people used to travel to other places to see what a person looks like when they get fat. Same with cancer also.

  6. Another factor is taste. Iceberg is definitely the crispest, and arguably the sweetest, of the lettuces. And if people prefer Iceberg to other varieties, they'll eat more of it. If you don't like Romaine or other "better" varieties, you have to force yourself to eat it, and you just won't eat as much of it in the long run. Be very wary of any nutritional claims from the so-called experts. Except for obvious things like "don't consume gallons of lard on a daily basis," they're wrong at least as often as they're right, and they contradict themselves constantly.

  7. If I want to balance my diet on chronometer, which vitamins and minerals would not be necessary to get a 100% each day? I mean not because they are less important but because the body has at least a short term reserve of them?

  8. Wow, Red Leaf kinda kicks butt!  I knew there was a reason I liked it lol.

    But your point is taken.  If you have to grab lunch somewhere and there's limited selection, an iceberg salad is magnitudes (to steal your word) better than a burger!

  9. What does "looking at the data the "right way" mean? Its not so much that iceberg isn't so far behind. Its about getting the most out of your food. If you can get more nutritionally from another type of lettuce than iceberg, you might as well go for the alternative since you're eating the same amount of calories. Besides, iceberg tastes blander than the others. Compare Vitamin A:  Romaine 116% vs Iceberg 10%. Clearly superior. I agree that it does not have zero nutrition. 

  10. I don't agree on that how nutritious something is depends on how many calories it has. I would measure it by how long time it takes to eat. Let's say that a head of iceberg and a head of romaine takes the same amount of time to eat, but iceberg has less nutrients per head. Then romaine is the obivous winner.

    Another example: Let's say that something had extremely high nutrients per calorie ratio and contained all the nutrients you'd need for the day, but took like 10 hours to eat, and had very little calories, then you wouldn't have time to eat that, and you would be sufficient in calories for the day.

  11. Andrew man, great video but one thing I gotta disagree on. You said everyone eats according to calories and not serving size. I think most people don't determine how much salad their going to be eating based on whether its iceberg, romaine, kale, spinach, etc. They just eat a salad. So I think it is actually appropriate to compare them by volume and not by calorie. I totally agree with the underlying premise of the video though, all lettuce rocks!

  12. Andrew, I thought it was his system as Dr Bill Harris (of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii) attributed it to him. I've just realised you did a vid already on Dr Fuhrman and I was quite surprised at what you found. His 'diet' has kind of worked for me but I have to admit it doesn't justify the negatives that you have found in your research.

  13. I agree with your conclusion, but not with your premise. Specifically, when it comes to leafy greens and other calorifically insignificant food, there is no way we eat to calorie on them. I would speculate that the satiation of such food is roughly correlated to dry weight or the amount of fibre. Per gram of fibre, iceberg still kicks ass.

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