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Ice Cream: Tasty Temptation!

ice cream cone photoIt is hard to find an individual who doesn’t love ice cream. Ice cream is a wonderful treat that brings comfort and happiness to many people, even in the dead of winter. While we all understand that ice cream is not a health food, we may not all realize how bad it is for our health when consumed on a regular basis.

Why is ice cream bad for us?
Ice cream is very high in unhealthy fat (saturated fat) and calories because, in order to be called “ice cream the United States”, it is required to contain a certain amount of milkfat (sources: butter, cream or milk). Standard ice cream has to contain a minimum of 10% milkfat by weight, while premium and super premium varieties usually contain between 13 to 16% milkfat by weight. The premium varieties, which many people prefer because of their smoother and richer taste, obviously pack a lot more milkfat than regular ice cream. If they are eaten on a regular basis, they increase your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

What should I eat instead?
If you are trying to lose weight or be healthier, it may be time to seek a new frozen dessert alternative. Here are few things to think about the next time you are wandering the frozen dessert section.

  1. Try fat free, low fat and light ice cream varieties: Usually, they have less fat. However, examine the low fat claims on the ice cream with some skepticism. The wording may sound better than what you are actually getting. For example, some light versions come from premium brands and they still have more fat than their regular versions because premium varieties have more fat to begin with. So, read the labels and see if you are actually getting less fat and calories than traditional ice cream.
  2. Try frozen yogurt: If the creaminess of low fat, light and fat free ice cream varieties are not pleasing your taste buds, try frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt tends to have less fat and calories than low fat ice cream, but that’s not always true. It all depends on whether it was made from whole milk and cream or from skim milk. And some frozen yogurts are still high in calories, because most of their calories comes from sugar. So, always read the labels.
  3. Try sherbets or sorbets: These desserts are fruit based and are the best options for a frozen treat. The difference is that sherberts contain dairy products as well as fruit, while sorbets do not contain any dairy products. Sherbets contain very little fat and cholesterol while sorbets are fat and cholesterol free.
  4. Stay away from extras: If nuts, chocolate chips or a chocolate coating is added to the ice cream, they add extra calories and sometimes a fair amount of fat.
  5. Check the serving size: Some manufacturers are sneaky and have reduced the standard serving size from 4 to 3 ounces. So, a product might look like it has less calories and fat only because its serving size is 25% smaller. And remember a 4 ounce serving is really tiny. Not many people eat just one scoop. So, take that into account also.
  6. Look for a low fat product: Choose a dessert that has 4 grams of fat or less per 4 ounce serving (½ cup) with no more than 2 grams of that being saturated and trans fats combined. On average, standard ice cream has about 8 grams of fat per 4 ounce serving and premium brands have about 17 grams of fat per serving.

The bottom line:
Before you scream for more ice cream, realize what you are screaming for. While tasty, regular and premium ice cream varieties should not be eaten on a regular basis. So, if you crave a frozen dessert treat regularly, then select an option with less calories and fat. Choosing wisely is the key to success when it comes to healthy frozen treats.

References: healthcastle.com and cspinet.org

Comments (1)

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  1. Isabel van Sunder says:

    I know that ice cream is not good for you but if you only have it once in awhile I think that it is OK.

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