July 7, 2008

Have Your Ice Cream -- And Eat It, Too!

I was recently perusing the frozen section of my local deli and stumbled upon a pint of sugar free, fat free "ice cream."

A pint of ice cubes, I wondered? No -- an actual frozen dairy dessert.

Out of sheer curiosity, I purchased it and performed a taste test seconds after getting home.

Not surprisingly, it was a rather flavorless watery concoction injected with Splenda.

The more I thought about this product, the more disturbed I became.

Have we become such a sick society that we now need to sell ice cream lacking the two most important ingredients -- fat AND sugar?

This is a perfect example of the nutrition dichotomy that is so prevalent in the United States.

Many comfort foods are are either artery clogging and overly sugary or heavily marketed to "dieters" with artificial sweeteners, calorie-free fat replacers, and abominable tastes.

Whatever happened to a middle of the road approach?

This is why I appreciate what the folks at Edy's ice creams have done.

Their premium ice creams are creamy in texture, delicious in taste, and keep calories, saturated fat and sugar at more reasonable levels.

Whereas a half cup of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream clocks in at 270 calories (and 11 grams -- half a day's worth -- of saturated fat,) the same amount of that same flavor of Edy's contributes 140 calories and 4.5 grams of saturated fat.

Similar comparisons can be done with the sugar content. While Haagen Dazs packs in 21 grams (5 teaspoons) of sugar per half cup serving, Edy's cuts it down to 13 grams (3 teaspoons).

Best of all -- no artificial sweeteners in sight.

Granted, Edy's is not flawless.

Corn syrup (although not the high fructose variety) is listed as an ingredient in most of their flavors, and some of their more complex varieties (such as a flavor with bits of Nestle Drumsticks thrown in) are highly processed.

However, a simple flavor like chocolate is corn-syrup free and just as delicious as that of brands offering double the calories and sugar and TRIPLE the saturated fat!

I love the idea of offering consumers a frozen dairy treat that is pleasing to the palate and friendly to the waistline.

Whatever you do, promise me you will never bring fat-free, sugar-free ice cream into your house.


Mia said...

Hi Andy,
I'm with you on all that fat-free, sugar-free stuff - yuck! My philosophy is that you should eat a smaller amount of the good stuff. I think you are slightly off in your argument about Edy's ice cream, though. Although it has fewer calories and fat grams per serving than premium brands, it also has a lot more air whipped into the mixture (called overrun). Some commercial brands of ice cream actually double their volume just by pumping in extra air! Again, I think it's better to just eat a small amount of premium ice cream, especially one with all-natural ingredients, than to fill up on brands like Edy's, which have lots of additives and won't be very satisfying. If premium brands fluffed up their product with air, they'd have fewer calories, too!

Andy Bellatti said...


True, but the fact is other premium brands don't have as much air whipped into the mixture.

Therefore, I think some Edy's flavors are a great choice for someone who wants the taste and texture of real ice cream with half the calories.

Remember, too, that Edy's is also partially made with skim milk -- the lower fat content isn't simply the result of more air.

As I mention in the posting, a lot of the flavors are too processed for my tastes, but I don't take any issue with their chocolate flavor.

Interestingly enough, what many people specifically like about the Edy's brand is the fluffy, airy consistency...

Anonymous said...

I have a “You Ask, I Answer” question: What’s your opinion on soy frozen desserts, like Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent Dairy Free Ice Cream (http://www.turtlemountain.com/products/purely_decadent.html)? Are they any healthier than real ice cream?