Ice cream, basically by definition, is an unhealthy food. It’s a combination of heavy cream and sugar, so you’re never going to find an ice cream that’s actually healthy; even dairy-free ice creams are full of sugar. But is there one type of ice cream that’s healthier than others? Or, to put it more accurately, less unhealthy?
Yes, there sure is. While ice cream is being churned, air is incorporated into the mixture, and as it freezes, that air is what prevents the ice cream from turning into a solid block of frozen cream. Some styles of ice cream incorporate more air than others, and as common sense dictates, the more air in ice cream, the less dense it is, so the less fat it has.
Super-premium ice creams like Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs are super-dense and contain very little air, so naturally they’re going to be the unhealthiest. One half-cup of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream contains 250 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 20 grams of sugar.
On the other end of the spectrum are the standard supermarket ice creams, which are actually a lot better for you than the super-premium kind. On the whole, these are the ice creams that can be considered the “healthiest.” A half-cup of Breyer’s vanilla ice cream contains 130 calories, seven grams of fat, and 14 grams of sugar, a marked improvement. You can also find plenty of “no sugar added,” low-fat, and fat-free ice creams on the market these days, but those are so full of chemicals and additives that you’re better off just having a little less of the real stuff.