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Feature Articles: Eating Well


When you scream for ice cream, make it low fat


Summer is the perfect time to cool off with a refreshing bowl of ice cream.


“Ice cream is cold and can be soothing after a day in the sun but beware, ice cream can also include lots of calories and fat,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.


When it comes to picking out the best ice cream for you and your family, Roberts recommends reading the food label.


Federal regulations stipulate that ice cream must have 10 percent milkfat. Gourmet or premium ice cream must have at least 12 percent milkfat but may have as much as 16 percent to 18 percent milkfat. Low fat ice cream can have no more than three grams of fat per cup serving.


“Those milkfat percentages make a big difference in the fat and calories of the dessert you choose,” said Roberts.


Keep in mind that an average American adult should consume 2,000 calories per day. Only 30 percent of those calories should be from fat and no more than 10 percent of the calories should come from saturated fat. That means a person should consume no more than 67 total grams of fat of which no more than 22 grams should be saturated.


“I took a trip to the grocery store to do my own comparison of calories and fat in the frozen desserts aisle of the store. The first specialty ice cream I looked at contained 310 calories, 23 grams of fat and 11 grams of saturated fat in one half cup,” said Roberts.


Most consumers would not stop at one half cup or even one cup of ice cream. According to Roberts, a realistic amount that most people would eat would be at least one and one-half cups. That specialty ice cream would add 930 calories, 69 grams of fat and 33 grams of saturated fat to a person’s intake for the day.


“In that small bowl of ice cream, you would have consumed half your total calories, all of your fat and saturated fat for one day and half of the saturated fat for tomorrow,” said Roberts.


The good news is that there are better choices.


One-half cup of regular vanilla ice cream contained 140 calories with eight grams of fat and four and one-half grams of saturated fat. Keep in mind that if a person ate one and one-half cups they would have consumed around two-thirds of the total saturated fat allowance for the day.


Light ice cream has 100 calories per one-half cup with three grams of total fat and two grams of saturated fat.


According to Roberts, the frozen yogurt she looked at in the grocery store aisle had 100 calories but no fat in each one-half cup serving.


“The reason ice cream tastes so good is that it has both fat and sugar. The taste of those two flavors together on your tongue actually causes your body to release endorphins which give you the feeling of pleasure and makes you want more,” said Roberts.


Too much fat and sugar can contribute to weight gain.


“Ice cream is a soothing and refreshing treat in the summer. Use the label of the frozen dessert you buy to help determine the best choice for you,” said Roberts.


For more information contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.



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Last update: Friday, September 11, 2009