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What Is Low-Fat Ice Cream?

Low-fat ice cream is made with products containing less fat than the ones used to make regular ice cream.
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  • Written By: Jennifer Leigh
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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Low-fat ice cream is ice cream that does not contain as much fat and calories as regular ice cream. The main difference in low-fat and regular ice cream is simple: the products utilized do not contain as much fat. Regular ice cream contains ingredients such as cream and whole milk that have significant levels of fat in them. Some low-fat ice creams use chemicals and stabilizers to create a flavor similar to regular ice cream, though they often fall flat in texture. Others use a churning process that allows the fats to spread throughout the low-fat ice cream enough that it has a texture similar to the full-fat variety. Both versions can be found at many stores, establishments, or can be made at home with an ice cream maker.

People shopping for low-fat ice cream should compare the labels to ensure that the product is actually lower in fat than traditional varieties. Smaller portion sizes have less fat per serving, but not necessarily less fat per container. Low-fat ice cream sometimes has higher levels of sugar to create better flavor, but this does not necessarily make it a healthier option.

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Regular ice cream uses high fat products such as cream and whole milk to create a silky feel in the mouth and a full flavor. Low-fat varieties often use products such as skim milk, soy milk, or coconut milk to create the ice cream. Individuals should read the ingredient label to find out exactly what the low-fat variety is made out of before purchasing it.

Innovations in technology have created low-fat ice cream that tastes just as good as regular ice cream. Churning the ice cream for a long period of time helps to spread the small amount of fat molecules throughout the dessert, which makes it taste more like regular ice cream. People should look for low-fat ice cream that has been churned, which should be written somewhere on the label. Otherwise ingredients such as stabilizers and gums are used to make a cohesive product, but they do not taste as good.

Individuals looking to control the ingredients that they use completely can make low-fat ice cream at home with an ice cream maker. There are many recipes available for low-fat ice cream in cookbooks and online that can be utilized to make delicious flavor combinations. People looking to cut back on fat by consuming low-fat ice cream should also consider portion size when eating.

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