The Best of the Light Ice Creams
Ready for a healthier treat? Here's a guide to the best of the new light ice cream products.
Americans love their ice cream - and have ever since Thomas Jefferson
brought the recipe for it home from France more than 200 years ago. The
combination of sweet taste and creamy texture is in a word, magical. The good
news is that you can now find most any flavor you might desire in a low-fat
version. And the even better news: Many of these "light" ice cream
brands are great-tasting!
All sorts of product lines are now using the new churning technologies,
which allow manufacturers to use the same ingredients as in full-fat ice creams
while still cutting fat and calories.
You can also find plenty of ice cream treats in which manufacturers have
reduced the sugar by adding sugar alcohols. (But keep in mind that sugar
alcohols can cause intestinal distress for some people - especially those with
irritable bowel syndrome -- if they consume too much of them.)
Do Fat Grams Matter?
Some of the well-known premium (that is, higher-fat) ice cream brands, like
Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's, are now making "light" ice creams,
too. Of course, their light ice creams can be nearly as high in fat and
calories as other brands' regular ice creams.
Do these richer light ice creams, which have around 8 grams of fat per
serving, really taste much better? Well, I've got to say, there are some
awesome flavors out there with only around 4 grams of fat. It depends partly on
the flavor and the brand, but overall, I don't think you get that much more
satisfaction by taking the calories and the fat up a notch.
Some might really enjoy the Slow Churned yogurt blends like Dreyer's/Edy's
Cappuccino Chip (with 110 calories and 3.5 grams of fat per serving). Others
might be drawn to the Dreyer's/Edy's Loaded Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup (140
calories and 6 grams fat per serving). Both of these taste so good, that I
can't imagine that it would that much more enjoyable to eat one of the premium
ice creams, with 15 or more grams of fat per serving.
Reading the Label
There are five main things to look for on the label of an ice cream treat.
It's not all about fat grams! Per half-cup serving (the standard serving for
scoop ice cream), your best bets will have:
- 4 grams of fat or less
- Around 120 calories
- 3 grams or less of saturated fat
- No more than 10 milligrams cholesterol per serving
15 grams of sugar or less per serving. Many ice creams have almost double
More Fiber Than Whole-Wheat Crackers?
You might be surprised to learn that some ice cream bars actually have more
fiber than a serving of whole-wheat crackers. It seems that 3 to 4 grams of
fiber per serving is becoming the nutritional norm in this dessert category. It
might help make your serving seem more filling.
There are also a few types of ice cream that have 2 grams of fiber per
serving. They include Starbucks Lowfat Ice Cream, Ben & Jerry's Lowfat
Frozen Yogurt Strawberries & Cream, and Dreyer's/Edy's Loaded Chocolate
Peanut Butter Cup.