Sunday, June 26, 2011

Your Guide to Smart Ice cream-ing

Ice cream isn't the healthiest treat, but given that it is everywhere during summer, you might want to know how to deal with ice cream bombarding your path! With the summery hot season finally here, you must be overwhelmed by the variety of icy desserts in the market. There are many terms like “low fat”, “diet”, “fat free”, “sugar free”, which could in fact confuse you.

Ice cream is typically made with heavy cream and saturated fat (the kind of fat you want to avoid and that increases your blood cholesterol and your risk of diabetes type 2 and CVD - to name a few of course) and yes you can be shocked to find that some brands can go up to 15 g of saturated fat, 400 calories in only half a cup of ice cream! Now that’s too much for an ice cream snack! So let’s say you went to McDonald’s and had an innocent hot fudge sundae – well you’re in for 340 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat! 

Why all those Calories and Fat?!
  • Extra syrups, sauces, nuts, cookies and chocolate chips - A 330 mL cup McFlurry ice cream made with vanilla base (370 cals) + an Oreo mix (200 cals) + hot fudge (150 cals) = 720 cals without even adding nuts, cream, chocolate chips or other extras. Even an innocent spoon of whipped cream can add 50 calories to your treat. Keep in mind that calories are the least of your problems, don't forget all sugars, preservatives, colorants and chemicals added to those extras! So if you would like to add an extra taste to your ice cream, go for freshly cut up fruits such as melons or strawberries as well as some chopped raw buts, but whatever you do, don’t go crazy with your mix-ins!
  • Coating - The rich chocolate coating that adds texture to your ice cream stick is mostly made of fat. For example, a Haagen Dazs bar or Magnum can load you up with 21 g of fat, without nuts!
  • Know your Cone
A cake cone, usually served with soft ice cream, has 35 cals
A sugar cone, usually served with scooped ice cream, has 60 cals
A waffle cone can go up to 100 to 150 calories alone
A cone (60) dipped with chocolate (120) = 180 calories without having any ice cream served yet!

Well, best choice, ditch the cone and go naked with your ice cream!
Not really:p

The key is to:

Know that by law, the word "light" ice cream must contain at least 50% less fat or 33% fewer calories than regular full fat/original versions. This does not mean that ice creams with “light” on their labels are healthy. There are light versions of ice cream that still contain 200 cals and 7 grams of saturated fat in just ½ cup of this light ice cream so don’t be fooled and check your label! Just keep in mind that when any product is low fat/fat free, it's super processed. The kind of food you would want to have once in a blue moon!

However, it's good to know the lingo!

If you want to make sure that you are having ice cream with low fat content, read “low/reduced fat” on the label. This way you will get 3 g of fat per serving for sure! You also want to stick to the serving indicated on the label because the 3 g of fat and the 120 calories that you just read, are only in 1 serving of ice cream = ½ cup (1 cup = 240 mL) of ice cream.

You can also go for sorbet, which is a frozen fruit dessert made with fruit puree and sugar. It is fat free; usually, also a good source of vitamin C. Sorbet comes in a variety of flavors like lemon, orange, mango and strawberries. However, even though it is fat free, this doesn’t mean that it’s sugar free! Keep in mind that sherbet is different. It has fruit juice indeed but often contains milk, egg white or gelatin to thicken and enrich it. It is actually the creamy version of sorbet.

Popsicles can be regular, fat free to sugar free. Some contain dairy but they are usually made with sugar and ice. It is, however, important to read the nutrition facts label and ingredient list to make sure that they are made from real fruit juice and to ensure that the serving contains less than 120 cals. For a healthier popsicle version, you can make home made popsicles by freezing real fruit juice/fruit puree or sugar free lemonade. Healthy, easy to prepare, icy and a yum treat for everyone in the family!

Look for the label slow-churned, double-churned or cold-churned”. This refers to a process that reduces fat and calories while retaining the creamy texture of full fat varieties of ice cream. This process distributed the milk fat evenly throughout the product. So 1/2 cup has about 100 calories. Now I’ve looked for this "slow-churned" ice cream in Lebanon, but we still don’t have any so let's keep our hopes high!

While ice cream does contain calcium, it’s a bit ridiculous to recommend it for its calcium content, no? You can get your calcium from broccoli, dairy and dark green vegetables. I mean ice cream contains half the amount of calcium in an equivalent serving of milk so no point there!

I'm no fan of dairy nor of ice creams, but I know lots can't give up this treat during the summer. SO as a rule of thumb: Choose ice cream brands/products that contain per serving:
>> less than or equal to 120 calories
>> a maximum of 4 g of fat
>> 3 g of saturated and trans fats
>> 10 mg of cholesterol
>> 15 g sugar (equivalent to 3 teaspoons of table sugar!)

And the serving is ½ a cup so keep your portion sizes small so don't buy buckets of ice cream but rather, buy individual servings and read your nutrition facts label well!

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  1. shou habbet can u give examples be lebnen ade fiyon calories lbouza?

  2. Well you can find nutrition fact labels on some brands, most importantly read how much the serving is! You can have:
    - Bonjus joly diet: lemon, strawberry, blackberry
    - Bonjus tubby
    - Danish Iceberg: Les Delices like mango & vanilla = 90 calories per serving
    - London Dairy lite chocolate has 91 cals/serving and vanilla has 79 cals/serv.
    - Calippo orange has 100 cal/serv.
    - Low fat Dairy Dream: vanilla, caramel, tiramisu, strawberry or bubble

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