Four Surprisingly Delightful Reasons to Enjoy Light Ice Cream
July is National Ice Cream Month, and if you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably found yourself wandering the frozen treat isle of your local grocery store looking for a way to beat the heat. While plundering for pints of goodness, you’ve also likely seen a newcomer to the world of chilly confectionaries – Light Ice Cream. These deliciously creamy desserts may look and taste like the regular ice cream that you know and love, but boast some surprisingly nutritious benefits that’ll help you feel guilt-free about going back for a few extra spoonfuls. Whether you’re looking to try mindful new alternatives to your favorite treats, or just trying cool down on a hot day, here are four reasons to enjoy light ice cream this summer:
- Characteristically Low Calorie – One of the first features you might notice on a pint of light cream are large, printed numbers on the front of the label indicating the total calories in the entire carton. Oftentimes, this number is less than 400, meaning you can enjoy a sizable scoop serving without “breaking the bank” of your daily energy needs. For those looking to limit calories for health goals, light ice cream is an alternative that can satisfy your sweet cravings!
2. Low in Sugar, high in flavor– Light ice cream draws on the natural, wholesome flavors of milk and cream, while supplementing sweetness with only very small amounts of added sugar. Natural, non-nutritive sugar substitutes like stevia leaf extract and erythritol (a sugar alcohol), round out the sweet flavor without adding any extra calories. The result is a full-flavor frozen treat with less than a teaspoon of sugar per serving for most varieties.
3. Packed with Protein perfection – Undoubtedly one of the biggest selling points of light ice cream is the powerhouse of high-quality milk-based protein it delivers. With most brands providing nearly 20 grams per pint, this treat is perfect for those looking for an indulgent snack as part of an active lifestyle. Protein plays a role in normal metabolic, cardiac, and immune health (1), and is an essential building block for gaining lean muscle mass (2). Looking to cool down after a workout? Light ice cream is a sensible choice on its own, and blends amazingly well in smoothies, too!
4. Fantastically high in Fiber – Without a doubt, light ice cream has become a pioneer for a food innovation, in that it offers an excellent source of a nutrient typically not found in dairy foods – dietary fiber! Many light ice cream brands use natural soluble corn fiber (or Maltodextrin) for its effectiveness in making a product as close to regular ice cream as possible. Of particular note is soluble corn fiber’s ability to add extra sweetness to flavoring without added sugar, plus thickening to create a wonderfully creamy texture. What’s more, most varieties of light icream offer 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Soluble fiber boasts an impressive array of health benefits, including improved digestive health, blood sugar control, cholesterol management, and weight support.
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