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Cool Summer Treats That Won't Wreck Your Diet

WebMD gives the lowdown on low-carb, low-fat ice creams and frozen desserts.
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Dorfman, a registered dietician who lives in Miami, knows a thing or two about beating the heat as a marathon runner. She says when choosing between an item that's low in fat but high in sugar and one that's low in sugar but high in fat, it may be safer to splurge on the one that's higher in sugar and lower in fat if you want to cool off without piling on the pounds.

"The fat is going to stay with you because you're not using as much energy. You move more slowly in the hot weather," says Dorfman. "Fat takes time to use. You've really got to be out there burning away to use a fat source."

"You want to eat easily assimilated food that's easy to metabolize and digest, which means food high in carbs," says Dorfman. "Sugars digest the fastest, that's why they're called simple sugars."

"If people following a low-carb diet are going to eat sugar at any time, summer is the time to do it," Dorfman tells WebMD.

Testing the Treats

But a treat is not a treat unless it tastes good and satisfies your cravings.

So in the name of science and relief from the summer heat, WebMD's editorial staff conducted an informal taste test of a variety of low-carb and low-fat ice creams and frozen yogurts.

The test revealed that low-carb ice creams earned praise for their creaminess, no doubt thanks to their much higher fat content. But some found the taste "a bit off."

The low-fat items got lower marks for texture and mouth feel, but redeemed themselves with their sugary sweetness.

Jackson warns that some people may be sensitive to the sugar alcohols, such as mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and other polyols, that are used in producing low-carb ice creams and can cause diarrhea or bloating.

"With sugar alcohol molecules, part of the molecule is going through your system undigested. Some people are sensitive to this and should use high caution when they see sugar alcohols listed in the ingredients," says Jackson.

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