Recently, there’s been a wave of “healthy” ice creams hitting the shelves: Arctic Zero, which is packed with protein; Halo Top, which is only 240 calories per pint; Wink Frozen Desserts, which is 100 calories per pint, and so on.
From the first glance, it looks fantastic. Almost too good to be true. Like you’re saying to yourself, “Wait, I can eat an entire pint of this and not feel like sh*t about myself (or not feel like sh*t period)?”
But before you rejoice and buy every single flavor in the freezer, think about this. Why do you buy ice cream to begin with?
The taste? The emotional satisfaction of eating a pint when everything in your life just sucks and you don’t want to deal with it? The nostalgia because your mom always bought you mint chocolate chip when you were a kid? Because it’s the perfect way to end a meal?
No matter what the reason is, I can guarantee you that these ice creams will not satisfy that reason.
Because if you love the taste, I’m sorry to say that these don’t really taste all that great. I mean, come on — it’s like expecting your protein shake made of water and protein powder to not taste crappy. Because a key ingredient in most of these ice creams is protein powder, which doesn’t taste good unless it’s heavily masked by something. And Arctic Zero, for example, isn’t ice cream masking protein powder; it’s protein powder creating ice cream.
I’ve tasted it the chocolate flavor, and personally, I think it tastes like an icy protein bar and only vaguely like chocolate.
If you love the emotional satisfaction, I honestly would tell you to find some other outlet of relieving stress, but it’s not my job to judge (because hey, sometimes you just really need ice cream). These low cal ice creams are probably way better for you than a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in this situation, but they also make it a lot easier for you to eat an entire pint. Since they’re less rich and thus less satisfying, you’re less likely to put your spoon down halfway through.
For those people (like my roommates) who just need a spoonful of ice cream to satisfy their sweet tooth after dinner, then these ice creams are definitely not for you. The reason why you can stop after a spoon or two of ice cream is because it’s so freaking rich. It’s a spoonful of flavors melting in your mouth, the creaminess and sweetness of it coating your taste buds.
You savor it, and can stop after a spoonful, because that’s all you need. That’s the same reason products with less fat in them (like fat free yogurt, frozen yogurt, reduced fat cheese etc.) are inherently less satisfying than their full fat counterparts — our bodies do need fat, and this fat is what tells our bodies, “Ok, it’s time to stop now.” Without those signals, without that little bit of fat, you’ll eat more and feel less satisfied.
The other question you should ask yourself is how it’s possible for an entire pint of ice cream to be less than 250 calories. What do they put in there — black magic?
If you look at Halo Top’s ingredients, they include sugar alternatives like stevia, which actually aren’t all too good for you to begin with. And with the amount of whey protein in Arctic Zero, if you devour an entire pint, you are ingesting way more supplemental protein than you really should in a a day.
So you tell me, what would you rather have? A couple of spoonfuls of utterly amazing ice cream or gelato, or an entire pint of low cal ice cream?