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Frozen desserts.

Here's 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 Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream?

c) the maximum you should eat in a whole day?

Answers: A cup of Breyers--like most other standard ice creams--has about 20 grams of fat, ten of them saturated. Haagen-Dazs--like Ben & Jerry's and most other premiums--has about 40 grams of fat per cup, 20 of them saturated ... in other words, at least a day's maximum. Some--Ben & Jerry's Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, for example--have 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 you're like most people, you can double the fat and other numbers you see listed on the package.)

Here's the scoop that many people miss: Fat-free doesn't mean you can polish off a pint of Haagen-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 C--not to mention cool, refreshing pleasure--without tying up traffic in your coronary arteries.


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. What's more, each cup has to supply at least 20 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium and/or vitamin C.

Best Bites aren't 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 can't digest the lactose themselves.)

Most ice creams and frozen yogurts hit 200 mg of calcium per cup. Some--like Haagen-Dazs fat-free and Brigham's, Stonyfield Farm, and Blue Bell non-fat frozen yogurts--hover around 300 mg per cup.

In contrast, Dreyer's Fat Free Frozen Yogurt (the brand is called Edy's 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 & Jerry's averages 500 to 700 per cup.) For most fat-free brands, calories range from 200 to 250 per cup.

It's the premium brands-like Haagen-Dazs Fat Free Frozen Yogurt and Mattus' Fat Free Ice Cream-that can hit 300 calories. Why? They have less air, which means more frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Surprisingly, you don't 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 cup-not 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.

Dreyer's (Edy's) No Sugar Added Light Vanilla Ice Cream will save you only 40 calories vs. Dreyer's (Edy's) Grand Light Vanilla. What's more, it's 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 that's 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, you're 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 fat--four of them saturated--per cup. That's a fifth of a day's 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 fat--and calories--in 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 that's still too much.

Kemps, Dreyer's (Edy's), Breyers, and most other lights have eight or nine grams of fat--five of them saturated--per cup. There's no need to try them unless you're still eating regular ice cream and want to ratchet down the fat slowly.

Sorbet & Sherbet

Sorbet is almost always fat-free. Sherbet is close. They're mostly sugar, fruit, and (for sherbet) a touch of cream.

But some are better than others. Most flavors of Dreyer's (Edy's), Haagen-Dazs Cascadian Farm, Ben & Jerry's, 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. Others--like Alta Dena Sherbet and some Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs Sorbets--have little or no vitamin C.

Just watch out for Ciao Bella Coconut Sorbetto. It has ten grams of fat--nine of them saturated. That's coconut for you.


A cup of Ben & Jerry's Coffe Almond Fudge Frozen Yogurt has 70 mg of caffeine--roughly half a cup of brewed coffee's 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 don't list caffeine. So here's a little help for low-fat or fat-free coffee-frozen-dessert lovers, especially those who like it as a late-night snack.
Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt Caffeine
(1 cup) (mg)

Coffee, brewed 135
Coffee, instant 95
Ben & Jerry's Coffe Almond Fudge Frozen Yorgurt 70
Cascadian Farm Coffee Chocolate Sorbet & Cream 70(*)
Cascadian Farm Mocha Fudge Frozen Yogurt 70(*)
Starbucks Lowfat Ice Cream, Latte or
 Mocha Mamba 60
Haagen-Dazs Fat Free Coffee Frozen Yogurt 50-60
Elan Coffee Frozen Yogurt 50
It's Soy Delicious, Espresso or Espresso
 Almond Fudge 50
Sweet Nothings Espresso Fudge 50
Ben & Jerry's Lowfat Coffee & Biscotti Ice Cream 40
"TCBY" Nonfat Kona Cappuccino Frozen Yogurt 40
Espresso (1 shot) 35
Haagen-Dazs Lowfat Coffee Fudge Ice Cream 20-30
Colombo Nonfat Shoppe Style Chocolate
 Cappuccino Twist Frozen Yogurt 20
Healthy Choice Lowfat Cappuccino Mocha Fudge
 Ice Cream 20
Dreyer's (Edy's) Fat Free Coffee Fudge Sundae
 Frozen Yogurt 10-15
Dreyer's (Edy's) No Sugar Added Light Mocha Fudge
 Ice Cream 10-15
Alta Dena Lite Mocha Mocha Ice Cream 10
Healthy Choice Lowfat Cappuccino Chocolate
 Chunk Ice Cream 10
Mattus' Lowfat Coffee Ice Cream 10
Coffee, decaf 5
Dannon Light Cappuccino Frozen Yogurt 0
Elan Decaffeinated Cappuccino Frozen Yogurt 0
Mattus' Fat Free Coffee Cappuccino Swirl Ice Cream 0
Stonyfield Farm Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream.
 all coffee or mocha flavors 0

(*) company estimate.

Source: manufactures.


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).

COPYRIGHT 1998 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes related articles on caffeine content; nutritional information
Author:Hurley, Jayne
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Date:Jun 1, 1998
Previous Article:Marinade magic.
Next Article:The soy story.

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