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Skinny Ice Cream?

Skinny Ice Cream?

In a perfect world, the words "ice cream" and "no calories" would be paired together for all of our favorite sweet treats. Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey would make us smarter instead of adding to our waistlines, and a Snickers bar would have the same nutritional benefits as a banana.

Alas, we live in reality where eating our snacks of choice comes with a price, and it's typically one that goes straight to the hips.

At least some food companies are trying to create healthier indulgences. Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins is getting in on the low-cal game. The company announced on Monday that it's releasing BRight Choices, an ice cream line that will have 50% less fat and 20% fewer calories than its regular Premium Churned ice cream. Perhaps, the company is trying to counteract the negative publicity they received in September for their "death shake," a 2,300-calorie, half pound of sugar bomb that only the bravest would enjoy.

I wonder if the lightened-up versions of our most loved treats are really the answer to solving weight loss woes. Sure, they are the healthier options, but is it possible for calorie-free chocolate cake to quell the craving you've been having for a slice of fully-loaded double chocolate cake?

I think not.

I am a firm believer that the key to successful dieting is an approach that focuses on portion control rather than elimination of our favorite foods. I would much rather eat a small cup of full-fat ice cream than a cone of a less-than favorable one. I am not saying that the low-cal versions are not a nice alternative, but instead we must learn how to indulge in our favorite foods and practice moderation. I am confident it is one of the great keys behind keeping excess pounds at bay.

Would you rather go all in when indulging in a sweet treat or would a lighter (and maybe less tasty) version of a snack be your delicacy of choice?

—Caroline Shannon

Posted: 12/30/08

Yes, give me the full/real version any day. I'll pay the price of a longer workout if it means I can have some chocolate chip cookies. However, there is some middle ground. For example, I prefer ice cream to frozen yogurt any day. But Dreyer's has ice cream that I love. Its Vanilla Yogurt Slow Churned Blends is only 10 calories for half a cup. I add some chocolate chips and raspberries as one of my favorite semi-healthy treats.


Caroline, I agree! I'd love a bite or two of rich creme brulee rather than a low-fat whatever. But there are those who have made such a habit of having a little dessert after dinner that a low-fat alternative is a good thing. For instance, I know my parents like to share a little dish of ice cream most evenings. I'd rather they have a low-fat option (and they enjoy it just as much, it's more about the ritual than the flavor I think.)

  • By kristen
  • on 12/30/08 9:44 AM EST

I'm with you. I prefer a nibble or two of a treat in its natural state. Those low-fat, no sugar creations usually taste like flavored styrofoam.