Unsaturated Fat Could Be Key to Healthier Ice Cream

Researchers still searching for slightly more healthful recipe
Wikimedia/Lotus Head

Science is always looking for ways to make a more healthful ice cream, but it’s tough for any ice milk or sorbet to compete with the rich glory of a full-fat, custard-based rum raisin. But food scientists (and everybody else) still hold out hope for a slightly more healthful ice cream that doesn’t sacrifice that rich and creamy mouth feel, and some researchers say unsaturated fat could be the key.

According to Scientific American, the fact that unsaturated fats come in liquid form was generally assumed to make them unsuitable for use in ice cream, but recent studies from the University of Guleph in Ontario indicate that a blend of fats could be just the thing.

Blending an unsaturated oil like sunflower or canola with a saturated fat like cocoa butter and an unsaturated emulsifier causes the fat crystals to grow mostly in one direction. The pointy shape means a smaller amount of fat is necessary to build structure in the ice cream.


The scientists say the new research could lead to the development of creamy, slow-melting ice cream with less fat. Until then, indulge the old-fashioned way with some of our best ice cream recipes.