Putting light ice cream to taste test

June 24, 2009 3:13:03 PM PDT
Sales of ice cream are expected to top $4 billion this year. That's a lot of scoops. But what if you want to cut back on calories? Consumer Reports pitted several full-fat ice creams against their lighter versions to see how they compare.Mmm... Ice cream! Who doesn't love it? But some people don't feel the same way about light ice cream. However, you might be surprised. Consumer Reports taste tested three favorite flavors -- the light versions as well as the full fat. Included are Ben and Jerry's Phish Food, Breyers butter pecan, and Edy's mint chocolate chip. Consumer Reports also evaluated Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream and Haagen-Dazs five, its new reduced-fat counterpart.

Erin Gudeux with Consumer Reports said, "Technically, the Haagen-Dazs five is not a light ice cream because in order to qualify for that label, it has to have a third fewer calories or half the fat of the full-fat version. But it does have a third less fat than the regular Haagen-Dazs."

As for the taste, testers were impressed. Haagen-Dazs five is even denser and creamier than the regular version! And the three light ice creams impressed testers as well.

"They weren't exactly the same as the regular version, but the testers said all three were quite tasty and flavorful," Gudeux reported.

If you're trying to count calories, Consumer Reports says your two best light bets are Breyers and Dreyer's. Dreyer's slow churned mint chocolate chip was minty with lots of delicious chocolate chips. While it was a little gummy, overall, it was still very good. And the Breyers light ice cream was even better.

Gudeux said, "The Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Butter Pecan is sweeter and tastes more buttery than the regular version."

Sweeter yet, both these ice creams cost less than half as much as the Haagen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry's.

Consumer Reports says the claim "light" can be a little confusing. Among the light ice creams, testers found a difference of as much as 90 calories per serving. If you're trying to lose weight, always check the nutrition information before you buy.

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