Which is the healthiest ice cream? Try this option for a summer treat.
The days are getting longer, the air smells of sunscreen and bug spray and the ice cream parlors are back open for the season.
Ice cream is a summer staple, but it’s part of America’s dessert menu year-round. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, Americans eat about 20 pounds of ice cream every year.
Whether you’re in line at the ice cream stand or have opened the door of the grocery store’s freezer section, here’s everything you need to know about health and ice cream, including non-dairy, low-calorie and frozen yogurt options.
Which is the healthiest ice cream?
When you’re in the store browsing the frozen food section, the first place you want to look for the healthiest ice cream is the label on the back. The healthiest option money can buy is one with the fewest ingredients, says licensed nutritionist Abra Pappa.
“Ice cream is a very simple food and it should be a very simple food,” says Pappa. “For me, the healthiest ice cream is the one that really sticks to the original recipe.”
That’s usually milk, cream, sugar, and some type of flavoring, she says. Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream, for example, contains only cream, skimmed milk, cane sugar, egg yolk and cocoa.
But the best way, according to Pappa, is to choose a local ice cream parlor for your outdoor treats and take-out classics. Local ice cream parlors often make their products using locally sourced ingredients. Eating a local diet can limit your intake of highly processed foods and contribute to a higher quality diet.
“It encompasses all the things I love about it, including experience — it’s local, it’s nostalgic, it’s middle-class,” she says.
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Is ice cream bad for you?
Ice cream is high in sugar, and as a dessert, many feel it has no place in a healthy diet. Pappa says: “What would life be without ice cream?”
The key is moderation – how much and when we consume dessert.
The national recommended recommendation is that Americans should limit their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of added sugar for men and 25 grams for women. And when you crack open a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, the serving size (about ⅓ of the pint) can have anywhere from 30 to 40 grams of added sugar.
This can be a particular concern for those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or other health conditions that may require them to reduce their sugar or dairy intake. These groups should consult their physician for disease-specific dietary guidelines.
If you’re trying to incorporate ice cream into a healthy diet, Pappa suggests asking yourself why you’re eating ice cream in the first place. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 38% of adults overeat or eat unhealthily because of stress. “Emotional eating” can be triggered by anxiety-provoking or difficult life events, stress, depression, dieting, or even seasonal stressors.
Reimagining the way we enjoy ice cream can help build a healthy relationship with food, says Pappa. Ice cream is an extremely tasty food, which means the specific combination of fat, sugar, and carbohydrates makes it both rewarding and harder to stop eating.
“We eat a food like ice cream to increase the pleasure of the experience and the flavor of the experience, and also to be much more aware and aware of our body’s signals like, ‘That was satisfying, I wasn’t.'” I need more eat,” says Dad.
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Is “healthy” ice cream healthy?
Healthy, low-calorie ice cream pints are dominating the grocery store freezer aisle, especially since the advent of the keto diet.
These ice creams are often made with sugar alcohol, which has a lower caloric value but can cause side effects such as discomfort, gas, or diarrhea in people with digestive problems or irritable bowel syndrome.
Some health ice creams market themselves as lighter, but only because they contain air. A pint of Halo Top ice cream is about ⅔ lighter in grams than a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because it contains less sugar and fat, which makes the ice cream creamier.
“It won’t be the same ice experience,” says Pappa. “When I eat ice cream, I want ice cream.”
Is dairy-free ice cream better than regular ice cream?
Dairy-free ice cream is a great option for those who are lactose or dairy intolerant or vegan, but it’s not inherently healthier. If you have a dairy tolerance, you can stick with regular ice cream, says Pappa.
“It’s far harder to get that texture with plant-based products like coconut, soy (and) almonds,” she says. “To really mimic ice cream, they add a lot of ingredients — they add gels, they add emulsifiers.”
Is Frozen Yogurt Healthier Than Ice Cream?
While frozen yogurt has fewer calories, its naturally sour taste means it often contains more sugar than regular ice cream. Frozen yogurt may also contain gum or other emulsifiers to give it a creamy texture.
“I think it’s a lot harder to find a cleaner frozen yogurt than it is to find a really good, pure ice cream,” says Pappa.
But for those who are following a doctor’s advice for health or dietary reasons and are watching their calorie intake, Pappa recommends trying frozen yogurt bars as a treat, since they’re a single-serving size.
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