It seems like almost every day we are hearing about a new low-calorie ice cream alternative. Halo Top kicked off this fascination because one pint usually equals less than 400 calories in total. Soon after, Arctic ZeroEnlightened, ProYo, and Breyer's Delights appeared on shelves everywhere. All of these alternatives focus on calorie amount, which draws in those who are trying to eat healthy but maintain their sweet tooth. It is understandable that people would want to enjoy dessert while still maintaining their diets. However, I do not believe in the low-calorie ice cream fad, and for good reasons. 

My Philosophy

Lauren Lamothe

I am a firm believer of everything in moderation, except when it comes to ice cream. It's a sad week when I've only had ice cream 4 separate times. I love to treat my sweet tooth, and I am truly not ashamed of my ice cream obsession.

Honestly, when I eat ice cream, I never think about any of the low-calorie alternatives. I've tried a few of these alternatives to see what I would think and against popular belief, but they don't please me. They lack sweetness and taste almost ice-y. When I'm eating it I feel like I'm definitely eating something that tastes "fake". 

I want ice cream the way it should be: made with real milk, real cream, and all the glorious mix-ins of chocolate chips, cookie dough bits, and Oreos. Real ice cream has the perfect creaminess, perfect ratio of mix-ins, and is filling. 

A Lengthy and Confusing Ingredient List

If you read the back of these low calorie alternatives, about how many ingredients do you actually know of? What is organic carob gum? I definitely didn't know until I read the back of the labels. 

My mom, along with many other knowledgeable athletes, have always reminded me that if you don't know what an ingredient is and you cannot say it out loud properly, then it is probably best to avoid eating it. Oftentimes, these are certain chemicals and artificial flavors that aren't good for our bodies because they are so processed. 

And we cannot forget our good old friends: sugar alcohols. Are they healthy or unhealthy? What really are they in the first place? Is this artificial sweetener going to be bad for our bodies in the long-term? The debate goes on and on, but the reality is, we still don't have all the answers. 

Because the debate is so confusing and multi-sided, I try to avoid many of these recent low-calorie alternatives. Yes, fewer calories can be good in certain foods. However, ice cream alternatives are problematic because of sodium content, sugar content, and a lengthy ingredient list. 

Call me a diva, but because I currently go to school at UW Madison, I have high standards for real, fresh, homemade ice cream. And, growing up in New York, the ice cream shoppes don't mess around either. It's all about flavor and real cream. 

I'd rather have ice cream in its full form because I know of all the ingredients. They are in their purest form and they aren't altered to make the ice cream have fewer calories. You cannot get that lovely rich ice cream with anything other than the classics.

Balance Really Is Everything

It really comes down to balance. Yes, I would consider myself a fitness fanatic (I even teach spin classes) but I also truly am obsessed with ice cream. Having this balance time to time is important. I believe in eating nutritious foods and not going overboard, but it is also important to enjoy foods that make my heart sing and my smile grow. 

Don't deprive yourself of something you love to eat just because of how many calories it has. We've become so focused and fearful because of a number rather than appreciating the flavor of what we are eating. Don't worry, just do what makes you smile (and scream, for ice cream's sake).