Home > Cooper Updates, Nutrition > Lighten Up – The Scoop on Ice Cream

Lighten Up – The Scoop on Ice Cream

What better way to cool down on a hot day than with a scoop of ice cream? Before diving into this deliciously cold treat, you may want to consider a light ice cream with lower calories, saturated fat and sugar—a tasty alternative to regular ice cream.

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Calories

Buyer beware, a serving size for most ice cream is half a cup. Being mindful of the serving size when consuming this cold treat will prevent overindulgence. Premium ice cream can pack as many as 350 calories in a half cup serving! Instead, opt for light ice cream that has no more than 150 calories per serving.

 

Saturated Fat

Regarding saturated fat, it is important to watch your intake because diets high in saturated fat can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol. American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 6 percent of calories per day from saturated fat. For a 2,000-calorie diet this equates to 13 grams of saturated fat per day. Unfortunately, many ice cream brands have that much saturated fat packed into a single serving. Again, light ice cream is the better choice, boasting less saturated fat by using skim milk instead of whole milk. When choosing a lighter frozen dessert, reach for one with no more than 3 g of saturated fat per serving.

 

Sugar

Since we are talking about ice cream, of course it’s going to have sugar. Limiting added sugar in your diet can help control weight, improve health and cut calories that don’t add any nutritional value.

American Heart Association recommended amount of added sugar:

  • Women:

< 100 calories per day

  • Men:

< 150 calories per day

So how do you calculate that? Each gram of sugar contains 4 calories, so take the grams of sugar, multiply it by four and that’s how many calories you’re consuming from sugar. A good rule of thumb is to limit sugar to no more than 12 grams per serving.

1 gram sugar = 4 calories

 [#] grams sugar X 4 = total number of calories from sugar

 

When purchasing light ice cream look for:

  • 150 calories or less per serving
  • ≤ 3 g of saturated fat
  • ≤ 12 g of sugar

 

Light Ice Cream Ideas

Below is a table comparing light ice cream options according to calories, saturated fat and sugar content. All of the ice creams listed are preferred over regular ice cream. Many light ice creams even boost your protein content either from milk protein concentrate or milk protein isolate, reflected in the table below.

Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts Calories per Serving Saturated Fat (g) Sugar (g) Protein (g)
HALO TOP® – Chocolate 80 1.5 6 5
Arctic Zero® Light – Vanilla Bean 70 0.5 9 2
Skinny Cow® – No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich 150 1 5 4
Enlightened® – Cold Brew Coffee Chip Ice Cream Bars 90 2 5 7
Breyers® Delights – Mint Chip 100 2 2 7
Yasso® – Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar 80 0 11 5

 

Next time you’re looking for something sweet, stick to these tips to enjoy a sensible ice cream treat!

 

Article provided by Nicole Hawkins, University of Oklahoma student, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

 

 

 

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