The Diet Detective: Keep Cool and Fit With Healthier Frozen Treats

How many calories is in your ice cream cone?

Summer is upon us, and any kind of frozen treat provides welcome relief from the heat. Here's some information you can use to help choose the healthiest options.

First, here's a cheat sheet to what the popular frozen desserts are made of:


  • Ice Cream: Ice cream is made with cream, milk, sweeteners, flavorings, stabilizers and emulsifiers. To be shipped in interstate commerce, it must contain at least 10 percent milk fat.
  • Frozen Custard: Also called French ice cream or New York ice cream, frozen custard has egg yolks added.
  • Gelato: Gelato is served in a semi-frozen state similar to "soft-serve" ice cream. However, it's denser because it contains less air. Typically, gelato has milk and also can contain sweeteners, egg yolks and flavoring.
  • Low-fat Ice Cream: Low-fat ice cream, or ice milk, is made from milk, stabilizers, sweeteners and flavorings and contains not more than 3 grams of fat per 4-ounce serving. Ice creams advertised as "reduced fat" or "light" must have a lower fat content than "regular" ice cream but may not meet the standard for "low-fat." Soft-serve frozen desserts are similar to low-fat ice cream, but are specially processed.
  • Sherbet: Made with milk, fruit or fruit juice, stabilizers and sweeteners, sherbet has about twice the sweetener as ice cream. It must have 1 to 2 percent milk fat.
  • Sorbet: Sorbet and water ices are similar to sherbets but contain no dairy.
  • Frozen Yogurt: Frozen yogurts, containing sweeteners and flavorings, are available in regular and low-fat varieties.

Baskin-Robbins Rocky Road Ice Cream vs. French Vanilla Ice Cream

At 580 calories per cup (two scoops), the Rocky Road is richer than the French Vanilla, but only by 20 calories. Most Baskin-Robbins ice creams (www.baskinrobbins.com/nutrition/ProductList.aspx?category=Ice Cream) range from 240 calories to 320 calories per half cup, with Peanut Butter 'n Chocolate Ice Cream coming in at the high end. Keep in mind that most of the serving sizes listed on supermarket ice creams are a half cup; however, most people eat at least one to one and a half—that's about 500-750 calories.

Dairy Queen Blizzard vs. Sundae vs. Baskin-Robbins Banana Split

The medium sundae at Dairy Queen (www.dairyqueen.com) has 410 calories, whereas a medium Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard is 790 calories. You think that's high? The medium Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard is 1,030 calories. A Banana Split Sundae at Baskin-Robbins is 1,030 calories for 20 ounces.

Dairy Queen Vanilla Soft-Serve vs. TCBY Soft-Serve Creamy Frozen Yogurt (96 Percent Fat Free)

TCBY serves up 7 ounces at about 240 calories, the same as a small DQ cone. Dairy Queen is famous for those chocolate-dipped cones, but if you go for a large, that's 670 calories; a medium is 490 calories. The good news is that TCBY offers a four-ounce non-fat soft-serve version for 193 calories. If you go with the TCBY Butter Pecan Perfection Hand-Scooped Frozen Yogurt, a half-cup serving is 110 calories. Dairy Queen also offers low-calorie treats like the 50-calorie DQ Fudge Bar with no sugar added (about 2? ounces) and the Dairy Queen Vanilla Orange Bar—also with no sugar added—at 60 calories.

H?agen-Dazs Vanilla & Almonds Ice Cream Bars vs. Good Humor Candy Center Crunch vs. Klondike Bar

The H?agen-Dazs bar (www.haagen-dazs.com) is 320 calories, but most bars are high in calories, including the Starbucks Mud Pie Ice Cream Bar (350 calories for 3 ? ounces), and the Dove Dark Chocolate with Vanilla Ice Cream Bar (320 calories for 2 ? ounces). The 4-ounce Good Humor Candy Center Crunch (www.icecreamusa.com/good_humor) is 310 calories. An Original Vanilla Klondike bar is 250 calories for 4.5 ounces. A Good Humor Chocolate ?clair bar might be your best bet at 220 calories.

More: Recipe for a Healthy Treat

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