Thousand island vs. French dressing — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Thousand Island is based on a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup, while French dressing is mainly a mixture of oil, vinegar, and sugar.
French dressing is lighter, usually used in salads, whereas Thousand Island is creamier, often used in sandwiches.
Thousand Island is three times higher in fats compared to reduced-fat French dressing and a little higher in fats than regular French dressing.
Thousand Island is lower in carbohydrates, four times higher in vitamins K and E, and richer in minerals.
Thousand Island and French dressing are two of the most popular American condiments. In this article, we will look at how much nutrition each dressing adds to a dish and how the two compare to each other overall.
Despite the name, French dressing is an American salad dressing, just like Thousand Island. Both condiments are also usually made with ketchup as the base.
However, the most important ingredient in Thousand Island is mayonnaise, usually mixed with ketchup as the base. Depending on the recipe, Thousand Island can also contain finely chopped bell peppers, pickles, pimentos, olives, onions, horseradish, etc.
French dressing is based on a mix of vinegar, oil, and sugar. Due to these ingredients, the dressing was often referred to as vinaigrette. Vinaigrette is a dressing originating in France, which is made by mixing oil with vinegar. This is where French dressing gets its name.
French dressing can also contain paprika, mustard, onions, and various seasonings.
Taste and Use
As can be seen from their ingredients, Thousand Island, being a mayo-based dressing, is heavier and thicker, usually used in sandwiches. French dressing, on the other hand, is based on oil and vinegar and is, therefore, thinner and lighter, often used to add flavor to salads or other dishes.
While there are differences in flavors and textures, Thousand Island is more similar to Russian dressing, as both are based on a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise. If interested, you can read more about how Thousand Island compares to Russian dressing.
French dressing more closely resembles Catalina dressing - a red-colored condiment that is also based on a mixture of oil, vinegar, and sugar.
The infographics below are presented for regular, commercial Thousand Island dressing and reduced-fat French dressing. We will also be looking at regular, commercial French dressing and seeing how it compares to Thousand Island (1).
Macronutrients and Calories
Thousand Island is denser in nutrients compared to reduced-fat French dressing. However, regular French dressing is nutritionally denser than Thousand Island, consisting of only 39% water and 61% nutrients.
The average serving size per person is considered to be one tablespoon or 16g for both dressings.
Both condiments are high in fats and carbohydrates, which makes them high-calorie foods.
Thousand Island is significantly higher in calories compared to reduced-fat French dressing. However, it is a little lower in calories than regular French dressing.
Thousand Island provides 61 calories per tablespoon, while regular and reduced-fat French dressings contain 67 and 36 calories per tablespoon, respectively.
Thousand Island contains three times more fats compared to reduced-fat French dressing. However, regular French dressing is slightly higher in fats than Thousand Island.
The fat content of both condiments consists mainly of “healthy” unsaturated fats and fewer “unhealthy” saturated fats. Reduced-fat French dressing has a more favorable fat profile, containing very few saturated fats.
Thousand Island provides 26mg of cholesterol per 100g serving, while French dressing does not contain cholesterol. This can be explained by the mayonnaise found in Thousand Island.
French dressing is higher in carbohydrates than Thousand Island. Reduced-fat French dressing provides over 2 times more carbohydrates, while regular French dressing is only a little higher in carbs compared to Thousand Island.
French dressing is richer in both net carbs and dietary fiber.
Neither of these dressings is a great source of protein. Thousand Island is richer in protein than French dressing; however, it still provides only 1.1g of protein per 100g serving.
Thousand Island and French dressing contain different sets of vitamins, and this vitamin profile changes depending on the ingredients.
Due to the mayonnaise, Thousand Island is usually about four times higher in vitamin E and vitamin K compared to French dressing. Thousand Island is also 60 times richer in vitamin B1.
French dressing contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate, while Thousand Island is entirely absent in these. French dressing is also 2 times higher in vitamin A.
These two condiments are similar in mineral content. However, Thousand Island is overall richer in minerals.
Thousand Island contains higher levels of phosphorus, iron, calcium, and zinc. At the same time, French dressing is a better source of copper.
Reduced-fat French dressing is higher in sodium than regular French dressing. However, Thousand Island contains even more sodium, falling in the top 6% of foods as a source of sodium.
Research has found a direct correlation between higher sodium intake and increased cardiovascular disease risk. The lowest risk of cardiovascular events and death occurs in people consuming an average sodium intake of 3 to 5g per day (2).
Thousand Island and French dressing are both very high in sodium, falling in the top 10% of foods as a source of sodium. However, Thousand Island is higher in sodium compared to French dressing.
Increased olive oil consumption, along with decreased mayonnaise consumption, has been studied to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality (3). This indicates that French dressing made with olive oil might be healthier than Thousand Island.
Enamel erosion is the loss of the tooth enamel, which normally covers the tooth, protecting it from harm. Erosion is usually caused by acidic foods, such as vinegar and lemon juice.
French dressing has been researched to cause more dental wear compared to Thousand Island (4).
Vitamin K plays an important role in a vital role in regulating blood clotting and bone health (5). As mentioned above, Thousand Island is four times higher in vitamin K than French dressing.
Fat Type Comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Glycemic Index||Equal|
|Lower in price||Equal|
|Rich in minerals||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||14µg||27µg|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet||Equal|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.
- Thousand island - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171402/nutrients
- French dressing - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171404/nutrients
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.