The Best of the Light Ice Creams

Ready for a healthier treat? Here's a guide to the best of the new light ice cream products.

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

Americans love their ice cream - and have ever since Thomas Jefferson brought the recipe for it home from France more than 200 years ago. The combination of sweet taste and creamy texture is in a word, magical. The good news is that you can now find most any flavor you might desire in a low-fat version. And the even better news: Many of these "light" ice cream brands are great-tasting!

All sorts of product lines are now using the new churning technologies, which allow manufacturers to use the same ingredients as in full-fat ice creams while still cutting fat and calories.

You can also find plenty of ice cream treats in which manufacturers have reduced the sugar by adding sugar alcohols. (But keep in mind that sugar alcohols can cause intestinal distress for some people - especially those with irritable bowel syndrome -- if they consume too much of them.)

Do Fat Grams Matter?

Some of the well-known premium (that is, higher-fat) ice cream brands, like Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's, are now making "light" ice creams, too. Of course, their light ice creams can be nearly as high in fat and calories as other brands' regular ice creams.

Do these richer light ice creams, which have around 8 grams of fat per serving, really taste much better? Well, I've got to say, there are some awesome flavors out there with only around 4 grams of fat. It depends partly on the flavor and the brand, but overall, I don't think you get that much more satisfaction by taking the calories and the fat up a notch.