Light and Luscious Ice Cream

New churning methods make lower-fat frozen desserts taste sinful.

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Ice cream is a favorite American treat. We love all kinds of flavors, all kinds of ways -- in cones, sundaes, and shakes and atop pie, cobbler, and cake.

One thing we don't love about ice cream is how fattening it can be. But thanks to new churning technologies being used by manufacturers such as Dreyer's/Edy's, Breyers, and Haagen-Dazs, we can now enjoy the taste of super-creamy ice cream for a fraction of the fat and calories. (Of course, you'll still need to keep portions reasonable if you want to keep calories under control.)

Ice cream manufacturers have long been in search of a healthier frozen dessert with all the taste and texture of the full-fat product. For years, you've been able to find products lower in fat, sugar, calories, carbs, made from soy, or dairy-free, in your grocer's freezer case. And remember ice milk?

Yet many consumers felt the taste of most of these lighter products just didn't measure up. In the past, most lower-fat ice creams used lower-calorie ingredients, such as milk instead of cream, along with added gums, air, gels, and other ingredients to improve and stabilize the texture.

The Scoop on the New Technologies

Enter the new churning technologies, which enabled manufacturers to use the same ingredients as in full-fat ice creams while still reducing fat and calories.