Tempted by ice cream in this warm weather – how about a ‘healthier’ version?
There are now frozen treats that promise everything from better gut health to a balanced mind and body. But which one licked it? We asked Ruth Kander, a dietitian at Fleet Street Clinic in London, for her opinion.
We then assessed them.
Contains ‘good’ bacteria
Biotiful Kefir Frozen Dessert Cherry, 500ml, £4.50, ocado.com
Per 100ml: Calories, 70; saturated fat, 2g; protein, 3.5 g; sugar, 7.4 g; salt, 0.1g
Claim: ‘Containing billions of live cultures, kefir is also rich in protein and a source of vitamin B12. Less sugar.’
Expert verdict: Kefir [fermented milk] contains a variety of bacterial cultures and yeasts – good for gut health and the immune system – and is a good source of calcium, and while the evidence on how many of these survive when kefir is frozen is scarce, you should be getting a usable amount of these.
There’s a good helping of protein here – 4.2g in a two scoop serving, about the value of a small egg.
It claims to be a source of B12, but the vitamin is naturally found in milk, so this claim can apply to most dairy ice creams.
Taste: Very light but a little watery, with hardly any fruit or sauce.
Biotiful Kefir Frozen Dessert Cherry
Rich in fiber
Frill The Frozen Smoothie Intense Chocolate, 500ml, £4.99, ocado.com
Per 100ml: Calories, 70; saturated fat, 0.9 g; protein, 1.6 g; sugar, 8.2 g; salt, 0g
Claim: ‘Made with whole fruits and vegetables. High in fiber. No added sugars or sweeteners. Dairy and gluten-free.’
Expert verdict: This frozen chocolate smoothie is packed with filling, gut-friendly fiber from the dates, psyllium husk (from plant seed husks), and chicory root fiber, which are used to give it texture and keep it from melting too quickly .
You’ll get 10g of fiber — a third of the recommended daily intake — in a two-scoop serving.
While this is quite sweet, most of the sweetness comes from the dates, which are also a good source of magnesium, vitamin K and calcium – all necessary for healthy bones.
It’s good to see a dessert with fewer calories, less sugar, and a short list of mostly natural ingredients.
Taste: Dark chocolate taste with a slightly powdery texture.
Frill The Frozen Smoothie Intense Chocolate
Rich in vitamins
Perfect World Caramel Pecan Ice Cream, 500ml, £4.89, ocado.com
Per 100ml: Calories, 85; saturated fat, 1.4 g; protein, 2.1 g; sugar, 0.8 g; salt, 0.055g
Claim: ‘High in 12 vitamins and minerals. Only 4.1g of sugar in the whole container. Rich in dietary fiber.’
Expert verdict: The first ingredient on the list is water, then sweeteners, coconut milk — then nuts and added vitamins and minerals.
Nuts are an excellent source of vitamins and I don’t understand the need to add vitamins and minerals to ice cream. You may end up taking excessive amounts if you are already taking supplements to increase your intake.
While there is no added sugar, the sweeteners here contain xylitol, which can cause intestinal distress for some people, even in small doses.
Taste: Powerful caramel flavour.
Perfect World Caramel Pecan Ice Cream
No added sugar
Magnum No Added Sugar Forest Fruits, three 90ml lollipops, £3.50, most supermarkets.
Per 100ml: Calories, 170; saturated fat, 6.9 g; protein, 2.8 g; sugar, 3.8 g; salt, 0.1g
Claim: ‘No added sugars and 154 calories’ [per lolly].’
Expert verdict: This is nearly 20 percent smaller than a Classic Magnum, with 36 percent fewer calories. It is sweetened with maltitol and erythritol, which can cause bloating or diarrhea in people with sensitive gut.
The cocoa butter and coconut oil here give these lollipops high levels of saturated fat, and while there’s some suggestion that the saturated fat in coconut oil may be metabolized differently than animal fats, there’s no concrete evidence.
If you like Magnums but are concerned about the calories, fat and sugar, I’d go for a smaller serving of what you like and a regular mini Magnum instead.
Taste: Fruity ice cream with a nice layer of milk chocolate.
Magnum Without Added Sugar Forest Fruits
100% fruits & vegetables
Pip Organic Rainbow Fruity Ice Lolly With Cheeky Veggies, Six 140ml Lollipops, £3.99, waitrose.com
Pip Organic Rainbow Fruity Ice Lolly With Cheeky Veg
Per 100ml: Calories, 48; saturated fat, 0g; protein, 0g; sugar, 10.6 g; salt, 0g
Claim: ‘100 percent organic fruits and vegetables, dairy, lactose and nut free, no added sugars or sweeteners, contributes to a child’s five a day.’
Expert verdict: These lollipops are made with 93 percent organic fruits and 7 percent organic vegetables. There is also a little bit of guar gum – a plant extract used as a thickener.
The generous teaspoon of sugar in each lollipop comes from the processed fruits and vegetables, which is better than added sugar — but you’re not getting the fiber that the whole fruit or veggies provide.
It’s nice to see a snack for kids that isn’t loaded with added sugars, fat, salt and chemicals — and makes a useful contribution to their five a day.
Taste: Refreshing, but fruit flavors are a bit too subtle.
With CBD oil
Oppo Choc and Chill, 475ml, £5.95, oppobrothers.com
Per 100ml: Calories, 82; saturated fat, 2.4 g; protein, 3.1 g; sugar, 6.3 g; salt, 0.05g
Claim: ‘Enriched with natural CBD oil to bring body and mind back into balance. Up to 60 percent fewer calories and sugar than regular ice cream.’
Expert verdict: CBD is a cannabis extract thought to relieve pain and anxiety, but this has not been proven, and with 12.5mg of CBD in a two scoop serving – about half the dose you would find in an average over-the-counter CBD capsule – there is only a little here. This is significantly lower in calories and sugar than standard ice cream.
Because of the CBD, I would not recommend this for children, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on regular medication.
Taste: Delicious, rich chocolate taste with very subtle sweetener aftertaste.
Oppo Choc And Chill
A source of protein
Halo Top Peanut Butter Swirl Lollipops, three 100ml lollipops, £3.95, tesco.com
Per 100ml: Calories, 100; saturated fat, 1.4 g; protein, 3.9 g; sugar, 7.8 g; salt, 0.18g
Claim: ‘100 calories. Source of proteins.’
Expert judgement: Protein is important for muscles and should keep you feeling full for longer. Thanks to its 9 percent peanut content and added milk protein concentrate, cream and eggs, one lollipop provides nearly the same amount of protein as a small egg — and nearly double the amount of some ice creams.
The peanut butter means this ice cream is significantly saltier than others here, with one lollipop providing 7 percent of the daily limit.
Flavor: A potent peanut flavor, similar to what a Snickers bar would taste like without the chocolate.
Halo Top Peanut Butter Swirl Lollipops
No artificial ingredients
Banana Scoops Banilla Nice Cream, 500ml, £5.49, ocado.com
Per 100g: Calories, 97; saturated fat, 0g; protein, 1 g; sugar, 21.1 g; salt, 0.02g
Claim: ‘Made with banana puree instead of dairy. We never add chemicals, artificial ingredients or refined sugars.’
Expert Judgment: Made with 80 percent banana puree, a two-scoop serving of this dairy-free ice cream can count as one of your five a day.
Pureeing breaks down the fiber in fruit, meaning the natural sugars are likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream faster and can raise blood sugar levels, but that being said, bananas are a healthy ingredient.
You’ll get four teaspoons of sugar in one serving, although most of it comes naturally from the bananas, so it doesn’t count as added sugar.
I love the fact that there are only a handful of simple ingredients.
Taste: Very fresh, like a super soft and tasty banana sorbet.
Banana Spoons Banilla Nice Cream
Reduced rise in blood sugar bloed
Frank’s Dialicious Vanilla Ice Cream, 1 litre, £2.10, asda.com
Per 100 g: calories, 161; saturated fat, 6.1 g; protein, 4.1 g; sugar, 13.8 g; salt, 0.1g
Claim: ‘Desired by diabetics. Made with fructose which leads to a lower blood glucose rise.’
Expert verdict: This is a pretty unhealthy product. It is made with reconstituted skim milk and sweetened with fructose – fruit sugar – and dextrose.
While fructose is said to have less of an impact on blood sugar than refined sugar, it has been shown to play a major role in a host of chronic metabolic problems, including cardiovascular disease, obesity and gout.
There are ice creams with less sugar, fat and calories than this and it’s no better than regular supermarket ice cream, so it’s not something I would buy if I had diabetes.
Taste: Nice, creamy texture with subtle vanilla flavour.
Frank’s Dialicious Vanilla Ice Cream