The Scoop on Ice Cream

July is National Ice Cream Month! We know you want to celebrate, but what about the calories? Dancers who are at the studio all summer can afford to treat themselves from time to time, but investigating alternatives is always smart. Low-fat or fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt, sherbet and sorbet can help you beat the heat without making you feel weighed down. But how can you tell them apart? And are there secret calories lurking in unexpected places? Here's the ice cream breakdown:

Regular Ice Cream

Description: The cream of the crop with sugar on top. This dreamy concoction contains a combination of 10 percent butterfat and sugar, which results in that smooth, creamy texture we all adore.

Pros: Yum! Yum! Yum!

Cons: The calories and fat can add up: A half-cup serving contains approximately 140 calories and 8 grams of fat. Still, if you don't super-size your scoops, you can enjoy each and every luscious lick.

Cream of the Crop: Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs rank supreme in this category.

Gelato

Description: Italy's version of ice cream. Since gelato uses whole milk instead of cream, it has less butterfat. It also whips in less air, so it tends to be denser and creamier.

Pros: A little lower in fat than ice cream, but incredibly dense and creamy.

Cons: Although it contains less fat, it's still high in calories.

Cream of the Crop: Visit a tried and true Italian pastry shop and you'll be sure to find gelato in a variety of flavors. You can also order it online for home delivery at Palazzolo's Artisan Gelato and Sorbetto: 4gelato.com

Low-Fat and Fat-Free Ice Cream

Description: Air, low-fat milk or water, sugar and thickeners combine to create a creamy, reduced-fat product.

Pros: Say goodbye to all that nasty saturated fat and cholesterol.

Cons: Choosing a lower-fat version doesn't necessarily mean you're getting fewer calories: When fat content falls, sugar content often rises. Keep your antenna up for chilly options that keep the fat, sugar and calories under wraps.

Cream of the Crop: The Skinny Cow low fat ice cream sandwiches, bars and cones; Edy's/Dreyer's Slow-Churned Light Rich and Creamy Ice Cream

Low-Fat and Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt

Description: Frozen yogurt is typically made with low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of cream or milk.

Pros: Just like low-fat or fat-free ice cream, yogurt tends to be lower in fat and cholesterol. Some frozen yogurts also have active yogurt cultures, which can help keep your digestive tract in order.

Cons: As with low-fat ice cream, watch the sugar content. (Sugar-free versions of frozen yogurt are available.)

Cream of the Crop: Turkey Hill and Blue Bunny Low-Fat and Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt

Sherbet and Sorbet

Description: Mixtures of sweetened iced juice or puree. Sherbet contains some combination of milk, egg whites and gelatin, making for a creamier product. Sorbet is dairy-free.

Pros: These two contain a trivial amount of fat, so when the sidewalk's sizzling and you're on the go, grab a frozen fruit bar.

Cons: Sugar often takes the place of fat in low-fat or fat-free fare. To avoid a sugar high, choose products that use whole fruit and few sugary additives or flavorings.

Cream of the Crop: Sherbet: Breyers All Natural Pure Fruit Sherbet; Sorbet: Whole Fruit No Sugar Added Sorbet and Whole Foods 365 Frozen Fruit Bars

Soy and Rice Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Description: Ice cream with a green thumb. Soy and rice are cooked, blended and mixed with a variety of flavorings, resulting in a smooth, creamy treat.

Pros: Say goodbye to butterfat and cholesterol, and hello to fabulous fiber. Soy- and rice-based frozen desserts tend to be lower in unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol. If you're vegan or experience bloating or cramping when you drink cow's milk, this may be the frozen dessert for you.

Cons: To make up for bland flavor, sugar and sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup are often added to soy- and rice-based non-dairy products, causing the calories to jump higher than in regular ice cream.

Cream of the Crop: Soy-Based Frozen Desserts: It's Soy Delicious (all flavors) and Tofutti Low Fat Tofutti Cuties; Rice-Based Frozen Desserts: Rice Dream (all flavors)

The Bottom Line

Don't stop screaming for ice cream! You can have your ice cream and lick it, too. Just remember to practice moderation when you come face to face with this irresistible treat.

Karlyn Grimes, a registered dietician, holds a dual master's degree in nutrition and exercise physiology from Boston University, and is a faculty member in the Nutrition and Biology departments at Simmons College in Boston.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search