Can this Ice Cream Trend Actually be Good for You?

Posted in: Diet & Nutrition
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Susan Ohtake, Certified Personal Trainer

Susan Ohtake, CPT

It's the epitome of "have your cake and eat it too." But it's have your ice cream and eat it too.
Protein ice cream is one of the newest nutritional trends on the market today. Who doesn’t love their nighttime dose of sugary goodness after dinner? Halo Top, ProYo, and Breyers Delights are some of the top brands selling this seemingly genius alternative to our favorite midnight snack.

But is it worth it? Is protein ice cream actually good for you?

Let's Talk Cost for a Minute

First, I’d like to point out the cost of these brands.

A pint of this ice cream can reach up to $5-$6. Which is the exact same as a gallon of the normal stuff. So you’re already getting less for what you’re paying for. So is it at least healthier?

Just the facts...

Nutritional facts that is. Before buying anything you should check these little fact boxes on the back of your food packaging. It might say fat free, but it could have 100g of sugar, which is worse than just eating the 7g of fat.

First let’s look at Breyer’s Delights compared to the original Breyers. I chose Cookies and Cream because I’m biased toward the flavor and it’s usually one of the flavors that has the most calories and sugar.

Each of these are based on a serving size of 1/2 cup:

Breyers Original: 140 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 80mg Sodium, 23g Carbs, 15g Sugar, 2g Protein

Breyers Delights: 110 Calories, 3g Fat, 85mg Sodium, 24g Carbs, 9g of Sugar (4g of ADDED sugars), and 7g of Protein.

When just looking at the Breyers brand, it doesn’t seem worth the change! Yes, there are less calories and more protein, but not by much. The carbs and sugar are also extremely close in value. The Delights do have less sugar, but they also have 4g of added sugars, which is never a good sign. Now let’s take a look at the others to see if they’re any better.

These brands are also based on a 1/2 cup serving size:

Halo Top: 80 Calories, 2.5g Fat, 120 mg Sodium, 16g Carbs, 6g of Sugar, and 5g of Protein

ProYo Mint Chip (closest to cookies and cream): 120 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 55mg Sodium, 19g Carbs, 9g Sugar, 10g Protein

When compared with Breyers Original, these definitely have less carbs, sugar, and calories. However, is it enough to make a difference?

Don't Start an Ice Cream Diet Yet!

Deciding if protein ice cream is worth it for you actually depends on your diet goals. If your goal is to add more protein to your diet, I would say no this stuff is not worth stocking your fridge with. An extra 3g of protein in your ice cream isn’t going to add much to your daily protein intake. Even ProYo’s 10g isn’t an outrageous amount considering you’re still getting 19g of carbohydrates with it.

If your goal is to cut calories out of your diet, but still eat that heavenly scoop of ice cream for dessert, this might be beneficial to you. Halo Top has 70 less calories than normal ice cream. With just 80 calories, this 1/2 cup of ice cream is less calories than a big chocolate chip cookie. So if you aren’t willing to give up your sweet tooth for your diet I would definitely recommend this ice cream as an option.

This Goes for ANYTHING, But...

The most important take away from these comparisons is still SERVING SIZE. The packaging might highlight 20g of protein, but that’s per pint, not per serving. All of these nutritional facts are based on 1/2 cup of ice cream, which is about 1 scoop form an ice cream scooper. That means you aren’t eating the whole pint and you aren’t filling a bowl and adding whipped cream and hot fudge.

Just like with ant food you eat, you should check the serving size and make sure you follow it! Even if you’re eating chicken, which is high in protein, you shouldn’t eat more than a serving size because you could go over your daily calorie intake or even sodium intake.

Dieting and losing weight is all about portion control. Don’t fall for fancy packaging and marketing. Make sure the nutritional facts match your diet goals. Just because a company claims low fat or high protein, doesn’t mean that product is healthy. There can be other factors that they aren’t highlighting that won’t help you.

As for me, I’m going to keep my sweet tooth and have my 1/2 scoop of regular ice cream. I’d rather get more bang for my buck than spend it on something that isn’t necessarily healthier for me. I’ll eat chicken or drink a protein shake if I want something high in protein.

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