Behind the trend of low-calorie ice cream

Credit: CBS News
Credit: CBS News

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Look in the freezer section at your favorite grocery store and you'll see them.

A variety of low-calorie, high-protein pints of ice cream sit next to the regular versions of your favorite flavors.  Halo Top popularized the trend, now Breyers has its own version as do several other ice cream companies.

They advertise the calorie count for an entire pint front and center with many of them hovering around 300 calories if you eat the whole thing.

"I would say proceed with caution because at the end of the day it is still ice cream and I don't recommend the whole pint," Kimberly Spatola, a Registered Dietitian with Novant Health, said.

Spatola likes that it has some protein in it but she says it isn't the greatest source of protein.

"They have a little protein powder and a little protein from the milk in them, but you'd be better off with a whole food based protein," Spatola said.

She also cautions about sugar alcohols which are fine for some people but may give other people gas.

"Sugar alcohols make something sweet but the body can't digest it so in some people it can cause an upset stomach," Spatola said.

In the end, Spatola says eating a serving size of these low calorie, high protein ice cream flavors in moderation isn't going to hurt you. However, she suggests also considering a serving size of traditional ice cream which may be more likely to have ingredients you can recognize.

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