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July — National Ice Cream Month

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 3:32 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2014 3:55 p.m. CDT

It’s summer time, and what better to eat during a hot day than ice cream? The national average consumption for Americans is four gallons of ice cream per year — that’s nearly 18,000 calories worth of ice cream. Here are a few facts about frozen desserts: 

• 1 cup of Breyers Chocolate ice cream has 280 calories, 14 grams of fat, and nine grams of saturated fat.

• 1 cup of Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream has 620 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 24 grams of saturated fat.

Eating just one cup of either of these ice creams every day would result in a one pound weight gain in one week.

The larger issue is the high levels of saturated fat found in these ice creams — because it’s that fat that can boost cholesterol levels and increase risk for heart disease. 

Ice Cream Vs. Frozen Yogurt

The difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt is primarily due to one ingredient: bacteria. Frozen yogurt has healthy bacteria or “active cultures” which may help people who are lactose intolerant break down lactose, the natural sugar in milk. Aside from the bacteria, there is no significant nutritional difference between the two.

Many people assume frozen yogurts are lower in calories but that is not always the case. For example, Haagen-Dazs’ plain vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt contains 340 calories per cup and 2 grams of saturated fat. 

Now some frozen yogurts are lower in calories and fat than some ice creams, but the same is true for ice creams: Edy’s Vanilla Bean No Sugar Added Slow Churned Rich & Creamy Ice Cream has 180 calories, six grams of fat and four grams of saturated fat per cup.

Ice Cream Out

Ice cream shops are very popular and many restaurants carry it as a dessert option. These can be packed with calories and fat.  Check this out ­— Culver’s custard, single dish has 318 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat. Dairy Queen Cookie Dough Blizzard, small, contains 710 calories and 16 grams of saturated fat.

Tips 

• Watch your portion size.  Purchase single serving options or novelties.

• Look for lower calorie, lower saturated fat options. Examine the Nutrition Facts Panel. Most serving sizes on a label are 1⁄2 cup — that’s the size of a tennis ball. 

• When preparing homemade ice cream, use pasteurized eggs in a no-cook recipe to avoid risk of illness. 

Lastly, here’s a little history: According to legend, in 1295 Marco Polo returned to Italy from his travels with a recipe for a sherbet-like dessert that was supposedly the ancestor of ice cream. However, many others have been credited with the invention. The ancient Greeks and Romans ate shaved ice flavored with fruit juices and wine which is probably how ice cream really began.

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