What’s the healthiest ice-cream?

The difference between five different kinds of ice-cream varieties.

During summer, cold desserts seem like a delicious option. There are many options when it comes to frozen dairy  and non-dairy desserts. Ice-cream, soft serve ice-cream, frozen yogurt, gelato and sorbet – what is the difference between all of them? Any of these sweet treats can be incorporated into a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Read the Nutrition Facts label to determine the nutrition information and serving size. Only consume the recommended portion size; many people eat more calories than recommenced when it comes to ice-cream type desserts because the packaging containers contain multiple servings. Many frozen yogurt shops offer a variety of crushed candies to add on top, which adds more fat and calories than the frozen yogurt by itself. When toppings are available to add, choose fruit and nuts to add flavor without adding extra empty calories.

Michigan State University Extension lists five varieties of ice-cream and their base:

  1. Ice-cream is made from cream, sugar and flavorings – other variations may include sweeteners, non-dairy milk products and skim milk.
  2. Soft serve ice-cream is a result of incorporating air into the ice cream during the freezing process. Soft serve also usually contains less milk fat than regular ice-cream.
  3. Frozen yogurt, or “froyo” is usually not made from 100 percent yogurt. It does always contain some sort of dairy product (milk solids and/or milk fat) and is lower in fat and calories because milk is used instead of cream.
  4. Gelato is made from cream and sugar, but contains less butterfat and less sugar than regular ice-cream.
  5. Sorbet is non-dairy and is made from fruit puree or fruit juice, sugar and flavorings. Usually sorbet contains very little to no fat, but it is high in sugar.

Based on the core ingredients listed, you can decide for yourself which ice-cream option is the best for you. In addition, use the National Nutrient Database to compare the nutrition of different types of treats as well as other foods.

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