|June 1998 U.S. Edition|
Bonnie Liebman & Jayne Hurley
Heres a simple summertime quiz. Guess how much saturated fat is:
a) in a cup of Breyers All Natural Vanilla Ice Cream?
b) in a cup of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream?
c) the maximum you should eat in a whole day?
Answers: A cup of Breyerslike most other standard ice creamshas about 20 grams of fat, ten of them saturated. Häagen-Dazslike Ben & Jerrys and most other premiumshas about 40 grams of fat per cup, 20 of them saturated...in other words, at least a days maximum. SomeBen & Jerrys Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, for examplehave almost 30 grams of sat fat.
That, in a nutshell, is why anything but low-fat or fat-free ice cream is a major splurge. And even low-fat has too much saturated fat...if you eat a cup or more.
(The government says that a serving of ice cream is only half a cup. But if youre like most people, you can double the fat and other numbers you see listed on the package.)
Heres the scoop that many people miss: Fat-free doesnt mean you can polish off a pint of Häagen-Dazs and hide it from your love handles. Nor does it mean that low-fat ice cream is a building block of a healthy low-fat diet.
Fat or no fat, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and sherbets are still sugary desserts. But if you choose carefully, you can get a good dose of calcium or vitamin Cnot to mention cool, refreshing pleasurewithout tying up traffic in your coronary arteries.
|CRACKING THE CAFFEINE CODE
A cup of Ben & Jerrys Coffee Almond Fudge Frozen Yogurt has 70 mg of caffeineroughly half a cup of brewed coffees worth. The 10 mg in a cup of Healthy Choice Lowfat Cappuccino Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream makes it almost like decaf.
But who would know? Ice cream and frozen yogurt labels dont list caffeine. So heres a little help for low-fat or fat-free coffee-frozen-dessert lovers, especially those who like it as a late-night snack.
Our Best Bites have no more than two grams of saturated fat (and no more than four grams of any fat) per cup. They also have no artificial sweeteners. Whats more, each cup has to supply at least 20 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium and/or vitamin C.
Best Bites arent hard to find if you like fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt. (The only nutritional difference between the two: Frozen yogurt has "active cultures" that help digest lactose, a naturally occurring milk sugar in yogurt and ice cream. That may help people who cant digest the lactose themselves.)
Most ice creams and frozen yogurts hit 200 mg of calcium per cup. Somelike Häagen-Dazs fat-free and Brighams, Stonyfield Farm, and Blue Bell non-fat frozen yogurtshover around 300 mg per cup.
In contrast, Dreyers Fat Free Frozen Yogurt (the brand is called Edys in the East) reaches an unheard-of 900 mg per cup because of added calcium carbonate. Think of it as dessert plus a calcium supplement rolled into one.
Just remember that even fat-free ice creams and yogurts are loaded with sugar...and calories.
A standard full-fat ice cream like Breyers averages 300 to 350 calories per cup. (A premium full-fat like Ben & Jerrys averages 500 to 700 per cup.) For most fat-free brands, calories range from 200 to 250 per cup.
Its the premium brandslike Häagen-Dazs Fat Free Frozen Yogurt and Mattus Fat Free Ice Creamthat can hit 300 calories. Why? They have less air, which means more frozen yogurt or ice cream.
Surprisingly, you dont save that many calories by switching to a "no sugar added" variety. Kemps No Added Sugar Fat Free Vanilla Ice Cream, for example, has 140 calories per cupnot far from the 200 in Kemps Fat Free Vanilla Ice Cream. And the No Added Sugar version is sweetened with the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet), which needs further testing.
Dreyers (Edys) No Sugar Added Light Vanilla Ice Cream will save you only 40 calories vs. Dreyers (Edys) Grand Light Vanilla. Whats more, its made with aspartame plus the inadequately tested and possibly carcinogenic sweetener acesulfame K (Sunett).
Sugar or no sugar, the sweetness of many fat-free ice creams or frozen yogurts is overpowering to some people. If thats you, switch to low-fat... and eat less.
A tennis ball.
If your usual serving of ice cream or frozen yogurt is that size or smaller, youre eating no more than half a cup. You can eat that much low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt and still keep a lid on your sat fat.
Most low-fats have six grams of fatfour of them saturatedper cup. Thats a fifth of a days worth of the fat that clogs arteries...not exactly food you can eat with abandon.
(There are a few exceptions. Healthy Choice Lowfat Ice Cream and most Blue Bell Lowfat and Colombo Lowfat Shoppe Style Frozen Yogurts, for example, sneak under the Best Bite limit, with just two grams of sat fat per cup.)
But if you eat half a cup of low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt, you cut the fatand caloriesin half. Of course, you also cut the calcium from 200 mg per serving down to 100 mg, still not bad for a dessert.
When an ice cream or frozen yogurt label says "light," it usually means you get half the fat of the regular version. Odds are thats still too much.
Kemps, Dreyers (Edys), Breyers, and most other lights have eight or nine grams of fatfive of them saturatedper cup. Theres no need to try them unless youre still eating regular ice cream and want to ratchet down the fat slowly.
Sorbet & Sherbet
Sorbet is almost always fat-free. Sherbet is close. Theyre mostly sugar, fruit, and (for sherbet) a touch of cream.
But some are better than others. Most flavors of Dreyers (Edys), Häagen-Dazs, Cascadian Farm, Ben & Jerrys, and Ciao Bella have enough fruit to supply a good dose of vitamin C along with the 200-to-260 calories you get in each cup. Otherslike Alta Dena Sherbet and some Ben & Jerrys and Häagen-Dazs Sorbetshave little or no vitamin C.
Just watch out for Ciao Bella Coconut Sorbetto. It has ten grams of fatnine of them saturated. Thats coconut for you.
Best Bites () contain no more than four grams of total fat and two grams of saturated fat per cup. They also have at least 20 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium and/or vitamin C and contain no artificial sweeteners. Within each category, frozen desserts are ranked from 1) least to most saturated fat, 2) least to most total fat, and 3) most to least calcium (or most to least vitamin C for sorbets and sherbets).
Frozen Dessert (1 cup)
Best Bite. # Contains one or more artificial sweetners. ¹ average for the entire line. ² average for the flavors listed.
Source for all tables in this article: manufacturers. The use of information from this articles for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited without written permission from CSPI.
The information for this article was compiled by Trish Treanor.