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Ice cream clones: low-fat frozen desserts.


Does anyone eat real ice cream anymore?

Sure. At kids' birthday parties, maybe. Or in cones and sundaes from ice cream stores. And some people squirrel away container of Haagen-Dazs in their freezers (for special occasions, naturally).

But since 1986 ice cream sales have been flatter than a pancake. Apparently, health conscious consumers have figured out that they can get much of ice cream's pleasure from less-fatty frozen desserts. In 1991, sales of frozen yogurt surged by 25 percent.

But people are confused (or misled) about how much fat they're getting from the alternatives. And no wonder:

* The fat content of frozen yogurt can be as low as zero or as high as regular ice cream.

* You can still get gobs of fat from a "nonfat" dessert (when the claim applies only to the dairy ingredients, not the nuts, oil, etc.)

But before you throw up your hands and give in to that half-gallon of Mocha Almond Fudge, sit back and take our Lowfat Frozen Desserts 101.


Ice milks are creamier than they used to be, thanks in part to new technologies that use safe gums like carrageenan, cellulose gel, and guar. Some of our tasters preferred Breyers Light ice milk to Breyers ice cream, which has twice the fat.

But Breyers Light, Weight Watchers, and Dreyer's (Edy's on the East Coast) Grand Light ice milk still have about eight grams of fat in a cup. That's as much as a glass of whole milk. They also supply about a quarter of the saturated fat you should eat in a day.

Borden ice milk cuts the fat in half. But read the label carefully Most companies list a halfcup serving; most people eat a full cup.

Some companies have gone beyond ice milks, to low-fat or fat-free dairy desserts that have too little fat to meet the government's definition of "ice milk"(two to seven percent fat, by weight).

Of course, "fat-free" doesn't mean "no-fat." It means no more than half a gram of fat no the serving listed on the label (which usually works out to one gram of fat in a realistic serving). That's still awfully low. In some cases, "awful" also describes their flavor.

Healthy Choice, Sealtest Free, Edy's, and Simple Pleasures were the best of the nine low-or no-fat vanillas we tasted. Ultra Slim Fast was the worst (people called it"chalky" and "horrendous").

And "fat-free" doesn't mean "healthy" either. Companies won't reveal sugar levels, but your tastebuds can tell you that they're not low. The only exceptions are artificially sweetened desserts like Simple Pleasures Light.


When buying a frozen yogurt, remember:

* Despite what the labels claim, non has as many active cultures as regular yogurt, according to Dennis Savaiano of the University of Minnesota.

* A serving typically is listed as three ounces. That makes it look lower in fat than ice milk and ice cream, whose manufacturers use four ounces.

* Fat content varies, depending on whether it's made from skim, lowfat, or whole milk or cream.

Stars brand averages 19 grams of fat per serving --more than any other line of frozen yogurt or non-premium ice cream, for that matter. A cup of Stars Vanilla Swiss Almond frozen yogurt has 35 grams of fat--as much as a cup of Haagen-Dazs Chocolate.

Some flavors of frozen yogurt from Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs are also as fatty as ordinary ice cream. Ben & Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch and Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Almond Crunch have more than 400 calories per cup.

In contrast, Edy's (Dreyer's), Sealtest, Kemps, and Stonyfield Farm make "non-fat" frozen yogurts (they could contain up to two grams of fat per cup). Kemps also makes a low-fat-variety; don't get them confused.

Our tasters couldn't agree on which was best or worst. So do your own taste test. If all the fatfree fail, try a low-fat frozen yogurt like Kemps.

But watch out for Stars so-called "nonfat" yogurt. The claim apparently applies only to the yogurt. A cup of Stars Butter Pecan has eight grams of fat, thanks to its added pecans, coconut oil, and butter. The nerve!


People who can't tolerate lactose or don't want to consume milk have long had alternatives like Rice Dream, Mocha Mix, and Tofutti. The problem was, they were all loaded with fat.

Some, like Tofutti Chocolate Cookies Supreme, even provide half a day's worth (ten grams) of saturated fat.

Now non-dairy-eaters have low-fat alternatives like Lite Lite Tofutti and Land of the Free (Tofutti's fruit-juice-sweetened dessert). Just remember that:

* Their taste is unlikely to wow you. We sampled two: Living Lightly and Land of the Free. Neither was warmly received.

* Most are low in calcium.


Sherbets have small amounts of milkfat and milk solids--enough to cost you a gram or two of fat. Sorbets are fat-free.

Because both are made with fruit or fruit juice, you'd expect them to at least have some vitamin C. But Dole Sorbet was the only good source (except for HaagenDazs Sorbet & Cream, which was fatty). That's clue that these dessert are more sugar than fruit.

Many people assume that sherbets and sorbets are lowcalorie. They're not. Much of what they cut in fat they add in extra sugar.
COPYRIGHT 1992 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 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Hurley, Jayne
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:Nutrition scoreboard: eating by the numbers.
Next Article:Food & mood.

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