Ice Cream

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream...who doesn’t remember that and all the good memories that come from being a kid and eating ice cream?

Well, I still love ice cream, but, alas, I do focus a lot more on portion size now. I mean I just can’t exercise off that pint of Ben & Jerry’s anymore, so in the interest of “all foods can fit” and staying healthy, I have to use portion control in my ice cream world.

The frozen treat aisle of the grocery store has expanded as most aisles…and people have (if we must be truthful).

Ice Cream: Label serving size = ½ cup

According to Nutrition Action Newsletter, a ½ cup serving of ice cream is the same size as 2 golf balls. In the case of ice cream, and golf for that matter, it is better to get an eagle than a double bogey.

  • Premium: Wow, this is the good stuff, but is it heavy or what? Even if you are able to stay within the ½ cup serving size you are looking at about 300 calories and 10g saturated fat. This is definitely an occasional food.

  • Light ice cream: Okay, here we have a little more wiggle room so to speak. Portion size is still important of course but each serving will only cost you about 120 calories and about 2.5g of saturated fat depending on brand.

  • Fat free ice cream: Food technology has come a long way. The thought of fat free ice cream used to make me cringe but now they have added some polydextrose and use a double churning method that leaves the reduced fat and fat free ice cream still tasting creamy. Polydextrose is actually a resistant starch (for more on that see the previously posted fiber story).
    Calorie range: 70 to 100. Saturated fat range: 0g

  • No-sugar-added: Keep in mind this does not mean sugar-free or carbohydrate free. It does usually mean less sugar and generally this class of ice cream is lower in fat as well. These usually contain a combination of artificial sweeteners. Calorie range: 90-130. Saturated fat range: 0g-4g

  • Frozen yogurt: Frozen yogurt has a few nutritional benefits not found in ice cream; for starters it has live active cultures. In addition many of the frozen yogurts have more calcium than ice cream as well.
    Calorie range: 100 to 190. Saturated fat range: 0-2g.

    Frozen Dairy Alternative desserts (serving size: ½ cup):

  • Rice milk frozen dessert: This is a non-dairy alternative which is good for people with kidney disease (low in potassium, phosphorus, and calcium). It is also good for those who wish to avoid dairy for allergies or for food practice reasons. Generally these are not low in fat but are low in saturated fat.

  • Frozen soy desserts: As the name implies these are made from soy milk, and are usually low in saturated fat as well. Some have more fat than others.

  • Frozen coconut milk dessert: This is the dairy alternative product with a saturated fat content that rivals some premium ice creams. However the saturated fat in coconut milk is medium chain fat and therefore acts differently than the saturated fat found in animal products.

  • Sherbet and Sorbet: Most are fat free; however some are higher in sugar than others. Sorbet made with chocolate and coconut milk are the only ones with a significant amount of fat.
    Calorie range: 110-200. Saturated fat content: 0.5g-6g.

    Bottom line: Keeping portions small and limiting ice cream to special occasions is the best ways keep ice cream consumption moderate. If you do wish to include it in your diet more often, continue with the portion control and then look for ice cream containing 2.5g saturated fat or less per serving.


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