A NUTRITIONIST'S ICE-CREAM VAN

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE-CREAM!

Summer is here and with it, the ice cream season starts.

It’s hard to resist a cooling ice cream on a scorching hot day, but what are my options when it comes to choosing a ‘healthy’ ice-cream?

There are so many flavours out there and to complicate the matter, many brands now offer a range of low calorie/low sugar ice-creams. The NHS recommends that free sugars should not make up more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day, which translated to around 25-30 g/daily in adults and 20-24 g in children.

This may just be a cautionary government message but in a paper entitled, ‘Public Health: the toxic truth about sugar’ Doctors Schmidt and Brindis don’t pull any punches… 

“For the purpose of health,” they write in the scientific journal Nature, “the optimum consumption is zero”.

They continue: “Added sugar has no biological requirement and is, therefore, not by any definition a "nutrient." It is the fructose component (sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose) that fulfils four criteria that justify its regulation: toxicity, unavoidability, the potential for abuse, and its negative impact on society”.

Schmidt & Brindis (2012), Nature; 482(7383):27

So although ice-cream seems so irresistible, let's be honest here: the less we consume the better. No ifs, no buts…

In order to classify an ice cream as either high or low in sugar they need to fall into these categories:

  • high sugar: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g

  • low sugar: 5g or less of total sugars per 100g


    I have researched the UK market and with these numbers in mind, I came out with the best and worst ice cream based purely on their nutritional value. So, here we go, the best – and worse – of summer creams, starting with…

 

1. RIBENA ICE LOLLIES -YES! 

This would be my personal choice: Ribena ice lollies. Yes, it’s a child’s ice-cream but it’s actually not too bad from a health perspective.

Every lolly contain 6 g of sugar, which is a very low intake. Perfect to satisfy your sweet teeth after any summer meal.

 

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2. Mr Freeze free pops - YES

This mini ice-cream with just 3g sugar is a real winner. And being low in saturated fat makes it easy to opt for. Less sugar, less guilt, better health!

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in summer could be really challenging: these Mr Freeze minis could help you out on a daily basis, as long as you don’t overindulge of course – two a day, maximum!

 

 
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3. SOLERO Exotic  - NO!

Solero looks good because they contain real mango and pineapple but it’s super high in sugar content: 17g of sugar, which is about 4 teaspoons full!! As much as they offer an amazing flavour with “real “ juice, 17g of sugar tops out the NHS recommended maximum daily sugar intake. One every so often is OK, but don't make them a summer habit.

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4. OPPO ice cream - MADAGASCAN VANILLA - YES

An ice-cream made with fresh, cold pressed virgin coconut oil, stoves leaf, and rethrithol. What we have here is a traditional ice cream made with natura,l healthy ingredients. Low in sugar and delicious !

2 scoops / 100 ml has only 5.2g of sugar!

Definitely, the perfect option to have stored in the freezer at home for a sudden munchie attack. If you eat dairy, this one’s for you, babe!

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5. YOOMOO - YES! 

The strawberry-flavoured frozen yogurt is swirled with strawberry sauce. At only 97 calories and 0.8g of fat per serving it’s the perfect lighter alternative to dessert.

But check out it sugar levels, 19.5 g of sugar per serving (125ml)

 

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Remember, studies confirm that frozen yogurt and ice cream are less healthy than yogurt, and adding extra topping makes them even less healthy. So, babe! A delicious treat but you might be left feeling a bit naughty!



We need to remember that sugar is essential for your basic brain functions and all cells need energy to function. But added sugar is something extra and unnecessary which we are including on top of the natural sugars found in food.



My recommendation is choose ice creams that are lower in carbohydrates and eat just a small serving. For example, you can fill your bowl mostly full of a low-GI fruit, like strawberries or sliced peaches, and top it with just a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.



Happy ice-creamy summer!!