Friday, August 10, 2012

What Is In My Ice Cream?

Yes, I eat ice cream and, yes, I have a sweet tooth.  I believe the occasional treat keeps me happy and prevents all out binges.

A friend and I were talking snacks recently and she said she only eats real ice cream.  I mentioned that I liked a churned variety that was lighter in calories.  She asked if I read the label and I had to admit I didn't.

It wasn't a particularly long ingredient list, sugars weren't off the charts and the calories were low.  However, the second ingredient was sugar and the third was corn syrup.  Not high fructose corn syrup but, still, why two sugars?  Because when you take away the fat you need to add more sugar, which I'm sure you know by now.  I do too but I was hung up on the calorie count.  So I decided to read the various ice cream labels, since my husband was off looking for something else.  He has patience but I only like to push it when I really need or, let's be honest, want to.

So, most of the ice creams have a list of really long ingredients, with a lot of odd or undesirable ones.  And Breyers, who I always thought of as the natural ice cream, now has cartons labeled ice cream and others labeled frozen dairy dessert.  Um, what the heck?  It turns out that frozen dairy dessert has a lot of ingredients that I don't want to ingest.

Breyers ice cream, on the other hand, had a short list of ingredients and the only one I wasn't sure of was tara gum.  Tara gum is a thickening agent that, from what I've read, is not linked to anything funky the way carrageenan is.  The Breyers chocolate clocks in at 140 calories, 7g of fat and 16g of sugar, which is respectable for a treat.  Most importantly, it tastes rich and chocolatey.

Yes there are other ice creams and non-dairy treats that have a decent ingredient list too.  I like So Delicious Coconut Milk Chocolate as well as a few other brands.  Read your labels and let your taste buds help you out.

What is your favorite brand and are you comfortable with the listed ingredients?

Need help figuring out labels?  Send me an email at

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