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    Archive for the ‘ice cream’ Category

    Numbers Game: Bowled Over

    Ice-Cream-ENTERT0605-deA study led by Brian Wansink and published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that subjects served themselves _____ percent more ice cream in a 34 ounce bowl than in a 17 ounce bowl.

    a) 17
    b) 22
    c) 31
    d) 40

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Monday for the answer.

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    Say What?: Wait, I Thought This Magazine Had The Word “Health” In the Title…

    scoopsMany thanks to Small Bites reader Corey Clark who saw this article on the Men’s Health website and notified me of a few bits of information that didn’t quite add up.

    In his e-mail Corey asked me to read the article and claimed that “it seems okay until tip number 8, but then it gets ridiculous.”

    Does it ever!

    The article — titled “10 Surprising Hydrators” — is based on the recommendations of a Registered Dietitian and promises to unveil ten “alternative ways to hydrate… with fluid-filled foods.”

    In fact, the article goes on to claim that if you consume these foods, “you could, theoretically, never drink a drop of plain ol’ water again.”

    Ooookay.

    The piece starts out with the standards: skim milk, watermelon, salad greens.

    Then it goes downhill drives off a cliff before exploding into a fireball of nonsense.

    I am still trying to wrap my head around the last three suggestions:

    “#8 (Soda): Yep, you read that right.  [Registered Dietitian Nancy] Clark says that caffeine, sugar, and water combo can make [for] a great post-exercise slug if it’s your beverage of choice.  It doesn’t make a difference if you crack open a diet or a regular.  But add some salty pretzels or a brat to help your body  hold on to the fluid.”

    If I were a cartoon character, you would see my eyes bulge out, my entire face turn red, and then steam come out of both my ears.

    Soda and a bratwurst following a workout?  Did the writers from The Onion hack the Men’s Health website?

    If the intent is to get readers to consume caffeine, sugar, and water after a workout, how about suggesting something that doesn’t leach calcium from bones.  Perhaps an iced unsweetened latte?

    “#9 (Ice Cream): Stop and get yourself a post-workout cup of Phish Food on your way home from the gym.  Ideally, you’ll choose the light version, but in a moment of weakness, you’ll still be hydrating with that frozen fluid.  We’ll take Ben & Jerry’s over a bottle of Dasani any day.”

    You know that feeling you get when you see Kate and Jon (of “Plus 8” fame) on every magazine cover and television show?  That feeling of  “what sort of messed up parallel universe do I live in?”  That’s pretty much the feeling I got after I read that paragraph.

    By the way, that cup of Phish Food adds up to:

    • 560 calories
    • 90% of a day’s worth of saturated fat
    • 9 teaspoons of added sugar

    “# 10 (Beer): Ok, sort of.  The general consensus among trusted nutritionists is that beer is a dehydrator, not a hydrator.  However, Clark says that a Beer Shandy — one part lager to one part lemonade or Sprite — is OK.”

    Let me get this straight.  Beer is a dehydrator, so therefore it is okay to drink after a workout as long as it is mixed with another fluid?

    I am still in shock that a health magazine would encourage readers to consume soda and ice cream after engaging in physical activity.

    That’s akin to me suggesting chocolate ice cream with almonds as a way to get calcium and vitamin E, or a double cheeseburger as a good source of protein.

    I would like to think this is an example of a sloppy reporter completely taking a professional’s advice out of context.

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    Misnomer

    Pistachio-almond is one of Baskin Robbin’s classic 31 flavors.

    Upon closer inspection, two oddities emerge.

    First, the product’s official description is: “a nutty combination of pistachio-flavored ice cream and roasted almonds.”

    That’s right, the nut pieces you see are almonds, not pistachios.

    Then there’s the ingredient list, from which pistachios are entirely missing:

    “Cream, nonfat milk, almonds, sugar, corn syrup, natural & artificial flavor, blue 1, yellow 5, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, polysorbate 80.”

    It’s not just ice cream chains pulling this trick.

    I recently stopped by a well-known New York City vegan restaurant and ordered a delicious-sounding spinach-almond-banana-soy milk smoothie to go.

    As I watched the smoothie man concoct my beverage, I was slightly crushed to see it didn’t contain actual almonds, but rather a few drops of almond extract.

    I think I now understand how Milli Vanilli fans felt when the lip-syncing scandal broke…

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    You Ask, I Answer: Ice Milk

    Have you heard of, or know much about, ice milk?

    I think Weight Watchers promotes it.

    — Katie P.
    (Location unknown)

    Ice milk is the outdated term for what we now call “low fat ice cream.”

    The name change occurred as a result of new FDA labeling laws in 1994.

    Four years later, milk underwent similar changes, with 2% officially changing its name to “reduced-fat” and 1% being renamed “low-fat.”

    I don’t understand why Weight Watchers would specifically suggest participants seek out ice milk, since that term is literally extinct.

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    Administrative Announcements: About the Author

    Since Small Bites was launched in April of 2007, I have gotten several e-mails from readers wanting to know a little more about me (besides the fact that I am on the Registered-Dietitian track and a Clinical Nutrition Master’s student New York University.)

    Alright, today is the day.

    We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly, but allow me to share a few anecdotes with you.

    Nutrition is not a subject that jumped out at me from a course booklet I flipped through one boring Sunday afternoon.

    Nor is it something I decided to study because “it sounded interesting.”

    I decided to pursue nutrition as a career because of the powerful effect it had on me.

    I do not have some incredible “I used to be 150 pounds heavier than I am now” makeover story, but my food journey surely has been interesting.

    Family dinners at the Bellatti household were always healthy (my ancestry is Mediterranean, so olive oil and fish were staples,) but my meals away from home were an entirely different story.

    Consider my middle school years.

    I would arrive to school every day with a packed lunch from home.

    At around 10:30 AM, when we had “snack time,” I would munch on whatever treat my mother had packed for me that day (a small Ziploc bag of chips, or a single serving pack of cookies).

    When lunch time came around, I would dispose of my remaining lunchbox contents (a sandwich, baby carrots, a piece of fruit) in the nearest garbage pail and instead purchase two chocolate ice cream bars.

    Oh, and a soda. And maybe even a slice of pizza, if I had enough money leftover.

    Then, I would get home and have another can of soda.

    Dinner was healthy, but late at night — while my parents were in slumber land — I would usually tiptoe into the kitchen, grab another can of soda and bag of chips, retreat to my room, and enjoy a midnight snack.

    Fiber? Sodium? Vitamins? Minerals? I didn’t have the faintest clue.

    Given that dietary recall, you may think I had to be rolled to school.

    Quite the opposite — I was skinny as a rail. And I absolutely hated it.

    I also never quite felt in tip top shape. Physical fitness was the last thing on my mind.

    Although I went pescatarian at 16 (a status I maintain to this day,) I still wasn’t eating healthy.

    Mozarella sticks, French fries, pizza, ice cream, and potato chips perfectly fit into my plan!

    Finally, at 17 years of age, I approached my parents and told them I was interested in seeing a nutritionist.

    Wow! Between her suggestions and a gym membership, within 4 months I felt like I had never felt before.

    I had energy! And some muscle tone! And previously semi-permanent pesky colds and sore throats were a thing of the past!

    That was my initiation to nutrition, and my passion for it only grew stronger with time.

    It was during my undergraduate years — as a journalism and gender & sexuality studies major at New York University — that I began discovering the joys of tofu, whole grains, vegetables, plain yogurt, tempeh, seitan, edamame, fresh fruit, and cuisines from all over the world.

    Finally, in 2005, I realized nutrition was no longer just “a hobby”; it was my future.

    I was committed to not only learning as much about it as I could, but also serving as a mouthpiece, vouching for its relevance and importance.

    I wanted to be thoroughly trained to serve as a trustworthy guide in the treacherous jungle that is nutrition.

    And, so, here we are. I thank you so much for being part of this ongoing journey.

    My main reason for sharing this is to illustrate that no matter how horrible your eating habits may be now, change and growth are by no means out of the question.

    My nutritional shifts certainly did not happen overnight. They were gradual, and I made some mistakes along the way (like shunning as many carbs as possible in the Summer of 2004!).

    The most amazing thing is that the foods that once made me drool don’t even register on my radar anymore.

    My adolescence was defined by Doritos and PopTarts. Back then, I certainly never thought my idea of a delicious breakfast would be Greek yogurt with sliced bananas, chopped walnuts, ground flaxseed, oat bran, and wheat germ!

    PS: An extra tidbit about me — I’m a big fan of The Soup on E! (that’s me with host Joel McHale in the accompanying photo. Click on it to see a MUCH larger version.)

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    You Ask, I Answer: Gelato

    Are gelato (pictured, right) and ice cream the same thing with a different name?

    What about in terms of calories?

    — Sara Stevens
    (city withheld), FL

    Although gelato is quickly becoming popular in the United States, it is what many countries (such Argentina) sell in their “ice cream” parlors (“true” ice cream is only available in pints at supermarkets)!

    The main differences between the two is that what is known as “ice cream” in the United States has a higher milk fat percentage and more air than gelato.

    Also, gelato usually does not contain cream as an ingredient.

    I am partial to gelato’s soft texture and sharp flavors (the lack of air makes for a denser product), since it is what I grew up with in Argentina.

    As far as calories are concerned, this is a tough call due to the multitude of ice cream and gelato flavors out there.

    The differences are by no means astronomical, though — gelato is still made with whole milk and sugar.

    Rather than get hung up on numbers, though, enjoy whichever of the two you like best in a small size.

    FYI: gelato is easier to keep caloric tabs on, since, apart from the occasional almond, it does not contain mix-ins like brownie bits, fudge-covered cookie pieces, or chocolate candies — all of which can add an additional 100 or 150 calories to a scoop of ice cream!

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    Sneaky Tricks of the Trade

    It’s not just celebrities who get airbrushed to look “magazine ready.”

    Popular foods also get plenty of help from stylists, lighting technicians, and even a little fakery to achieve a flawless image.

    PBS Kids reveals how hamburgers, roasted chicken, and ice cream always manage to look so friggin’ perfect in their respective advertisements.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Soy Frozen Desserts

    What’s your opinion on soy frozen desserts, like Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent Dairy Free Ice Cream?

    Are they any healthier than real ice cream?

    — Anonymous
    Via the blog

    Although many people view soy desserts as “healthy”, this isn’t always the case.

    As far as the Purely Decadent brand you mention is concerned, it is definitely lower in saturated fat (about 65% lower) and higher in fiber (chicory root extract boosts the fiber content to 5 grams per serving) than most standard dairy premium ice creams.

    However, the sugar content is the exact same as that of Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs — approximately 22 grams (or 5 teaspoons’ worth) per serving.

    Calorically speaking, a half cup serving of Purely Decadent’s chocolate flavor clocks in at 210, slightly lower than Haagen Dazs’ 270 calories and Ben & Jerry’s 260.

    However, dairy ice cream varieties, like Edy’s, offer 150 calories and 15 grams of sugar per half cup serving (the “light” version adds up to a mere 120 calories per cup.)

    My main rule with ice cream is that consumers should choose it based on taste preferences, not health.

    If the ice cream you happen to like is high in calories and saturated fat, be mindful of your portions or, even better, have it only at the ice cream parlor (rather than in your freezer.)

    If Purely Decadent is your treat of choice (I can understand why, all varieties are delicious!), savor and enjoy, but for all intents and purposes, when it comes to how much (and often) you eat, treat it like real ice cream.

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    Summer Eatin’

    The latest video posted on the Small Bites YouTube channel offers tips and advice for a healthy and nutritious summer.

    Is mayo a microbiological bad guy? What’s a tasty and refreshing replacement for ice cream? Are you preparing your salad in such a way to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients?

    Find out more in this short video, where I also introduce you to a key player of the Small Bites team!

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    Have Your Ice Cream — And Eat It, Too!

    I was recently perusing the frozen section of my local deli and stumbled upon a pint of sugar free, fat free “ice cream.”

    A pint of ice cubes, I wondered? No — an actual frozen dairy dessert.

    Out of sheer curiosity, I purchased it and performed a taste test seconds after getting home.

    Not surprisingly, it was a rather flavorless watery concoction injected with Splenda.

    The more I thought about this product, the more disturbed I became.

    Have we become such a sick society that we now need to sell ice cream lacking the two most important ingredients — fat AND sugar?

    This is a perfect example of the nutrition dichotomy that is so prevalent in the United States.

    Many comfort foods are are either artery clogging and overly sugary or heavily marketed to “dieters” with artificial sweeteners, calorie-free fat replacers, and abominable tastes.

    Whatever happened to a middle of the road approach?

    This is why I appreciate what the folks at Edy’s ice creams have done.

    Their premium ice creams are creamy in texture, delicious in taste, and keep calories, saturated fat and sugar at more reasonable levels.

    Whereas a half cup of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream clocks in at 270 calories (and 11 grams — half a day’s worth — of saturated fat,) the same amount of that same flavor of Edy’s contributes 140 calories and 4.5 grams of saturated fat.

    Similar comparisons can be done with the sugar content. While Haagen Dazs packs in 21 grams (5 teaspoons) of sugar per half cup serving, Edy’s cuts it down to 13 grams (3 teaspoons).

    Best of all — no artificial sweeteners in sight.

    Granted, Edy’s is not flawless.

    Corn syrup (although not the high fructose variety) is listed as an ingredient in most of their flavors, and some of their more complex varieties (such as a flavor with bits of Nestle Drumsticks thrown in) are highly processed.

    However, a simple flavor like chocolate is corn-syrup free and just as delicious as that of brands offering double the calories and sugar and TRIPLE the saturated fat!

    I love the idea of offering consumers a frozen dairy treat that is pleasing to the palate and friendly to the waistline.

    Whatever you do, promise me you will never bring fat-free, sugar-free ice cream into your house.

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    The Hard Facts on Baskin-Robbins’ Soft Serve

    Baskin-Robbins is expanding its ice cream experience weeks before the official start of summer.

    Say hello to their very own soft serve!

    Don’t let the name fool you; this swirly vanilla concoction has no interest in helping you indulge your sweet tooth without overloading on calories.

    For starters, a regular (not kiddie-sized, not large) soft serve cone provides 280 calories, 35% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, and 9 teaspoons of sugar.

    Certainly not a harmless treat.

    The real disaster, however, comes if you order Baskin Robbins’ new 31 Below soft serve sundaes (“vanilla Soft Serve blended with your favorite candies, cookies and toppings for a delectable dessert.”)

    Take, for instance, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup 31 Below treat: a combination of vanilla soft serve, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Sauce.

    At its smallest, it offers 950 calories, 105% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, and 21.5 teaspoons of sugar.

    Choose a large (which, by the way, is advertised for a single person; there is no mention of it being “shareable”) and once you’ve taken your last bite you will have consumed 1800 calories, 195% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, almost half a day’s worth of sodium (!), and 40 teaspoons of sugar!

    And that’s not even as bad as it gets.

    A large fudge brownie 31 Below, for instance, clocks in at 1900 calories and 58 teaspoons of sugar.

    We come back to the eternal question — WHY?

    Is there really a necessity to create a dessert that offers an entire day’s worth of calories and 600% of the maximum added sugar allowance?

    Your best bet is to tap into your inner child and order a kiddie size soft serve vanilla cone (don’t be shy, it is just as big as McDonald’s standard vanilla cone).

    At 140 calories, 18% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, and less than 5 teaspoons of sugar, it’s an occassional summer treat that, despite the presence of “corn syrup solids” and multiple stabilizers, is cool with me.

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    The Hard Facts on Baskin-Robbins’ Soft Serve

    Baskin-Robbins is expanding its ice cream experience weeks before the official start of summer.

    Say hello to their very own soft serve!

    Don’t let the name fool you; this swirly vanilla concoction has no interest in helping you indulge your sweet tooth without overloading on calories.

    For starters, a regular (not kiddie-sized, not large) soft serve cone provides 280 calories, 35% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, and 9 teaspoons of sugar.

    Certainly not a harmless treat.

    The real disaster, however, comes if you order Baskin Robbins’ new 31 Below soft serve sundaes (“vanilla Soft Serve blended with your favorite candies, cookies and toppings for a delectable dessert.”)

    Take, for instance, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup 31 Below treat: a combination of vanilla soft serve, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Sauce.

    At its smallest, it offers 950 calories, 105% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, and 21.5 teaspoons of sugar.

    Choose a large (which, by the way, is advertised for a single person; there is no mention of it being “shareable”) and once you’ve taken your last bite you will have consumed 1800 calories, 195% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, almost half a day’s worth of sodium (!), and 40 teaspoons of sugar!

    And that’s not even as bad as it gets.

    A large fudge brownie 31 Below, for instance, clocks in at 1900 calories and 58 teaspoons of sugar.

    We come back to the eternal question — WHY?

    Is there really a necessity to create a dessert that offers an entire day’s worth of calories and 600% of the maximum added sugar allowance?

    Your best bet is to tap into your inner child and order a kiddie size soft serve vanilla cone (don’t be shy, it is just as big as McDonald’s standard vanilla cone).

    At 140 calories, 18% of a day’s worth of saturated fat, and less than 5 teaspoons of sugar, it’s an occassional summer treat that, despite the presence of “corn syrup solids” and multiple stabilizers, is cool with me.

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    More Bitter than Sweet

    In my opinion, there isn’t a better treat than ice cream. The creamy texture, the rich flavors, slowly savoring every bite.

    Unfortunately, the era of the single ice cream scoop in a cone or cup appears to be long gone.

    The country’s largest ice cream chains are instead unveiling mammoth-sized sundaes and shakes with mind-blowing amounts of calories, saturated fat, and sugar.

    Case in point: Baskin Robbins.

    Two of its four new limited edition products — a chocolate-covered strawberry sundae (pictured at right) and a chocolate chip truffle shake — are scarily decadent.

    The strawberry sundae clocks in at 790 calories, 23 grams (115% of the daily limit) of saturated fat, 410 milligrams of sodium, and 104 grams (26 teaspoons) of sugar.

    A medium chocolate chip truffle shake contributes 970 calories, 24 grams (120% of the daily limit) of saturated fat , 1 gram of trans fat (the recommended intake is zero) , 450 milligrams of sodium (20% of the daily limit), and 108 grams (27 teaspoons) of sugar.

    These two still don’t compare to the atrocity that is a Baskin Robbin’s Reese’s Peanut Butter shake. The figures below are for a medium!

    1,340 calories
    92 grams fat (141% of the recommended value)

    33 grams of saturated fat (165% of the daily limit)

    830 milligrams of sodium (40% of the daily limit)

    91 grams of sugar (23 teaspoons)

    That’s as many calories as SIX scoops of ice cream!

    So what’s an ice cream fiend to do? At Baskin Robbins, definitely stick to a single scoop.

    With each one weighing in at 4 ounces (half a cup), you’ll definitely satisfy your craving.

    A scoop of standard ice cream contains 260 calories and 40 percent of a day’s saturated fat.

    Keep the latter figure in mind as you go about the rest of your day and choose vegetable-based meals low in saturated fat (remember, this fat is found in meat and full/reduced-fat dairy).

    Since a scoop is also quite high in sugar (6 teaspoons a piece), I’d recommend making this your only sweet treat of the day.

    Their non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt is a tasty alternative. It’s still quite heavy on the sugar (at 31 grams, it’s practically equivalent to a can of Coke), but a scoop contains 150 calories.

    Similarly, sherbets are the highest in sugar (34 grams per scoop), but each scoop only adds 2 grams of fat and 160 calories to your day.

    Getting your scoop in a cup is a another quick way to reduce potential extra calories (a waffle cone alone contains 90).

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    Bypass Queen

    Dairy Queen is gleefully promoting its “Blizzard” (ice cream with candy mix-ins, which has put them on the ice cream map since 1985) treat of the month — the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup flavor (pictured alongside this post).

    Not surprisingly, you can get it in either a regular or large size.

    The large size weighs slightly over a pound! Its nutrition label would read something like this:

    Calories: 1,050
    Total fat: 38g (58% of the daily value)
    Saturated fat: 29g (145% of the daily value)
    Sugars: 133g (11 tablespoons!)

    What is truly disturbing is that this size is not advertised for sharing — it’s all about wolfing it down solo.

    Is there really a need to sell a mammoth-sized portion of an item that, even in its regular size, is already quite an indulgence?

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    Semi-Angels and Devils: Ice Cream Bars & Sandwiches


    We continue our look at ice creams, this time focusing on sandwiches and bars. Unfortunately, as you are about to see, if you are not careful, you could very well end up buying a portable chocolate-covered triple bypass.

    I give the following a not-too-enthusiastic thumbs up (while better than other varieties, they are quite high in added sugar):

    Haagen Dazs Fat-Free Raspberry & Vanilla Yogurt Bars
    100 calories
    0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat
    16 grams sugar
    (per bar)

    Skinny Cow Chocolate & Vanilla Sandwiches
    130 calories
    2 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat
    22 grams sugar
    (per sandwich)

    Soy Delicious Li’l Buddies Sandwiches
    150 calories
    3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat
    13 grams sugar
    (per sandwich)

    And these frightful four should be on the “very occasional treats” list:

    Klondike Bar
    280 calories
    19 grams fat, 14 grams saturated fat
    22 grams sugar
    (per bar)

    Nestle Drumstick
    340 calories
    21 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat
    24 grams sugar
    (per drumstick)

    Starbucks Mud Pie Ice Cream Bar
    350 calories
    21 grams fat, 13 grams saturated fat
    25 grams sugar
    (per bar)

    Ben & Jerry’s Cone To Go
    360 calories
    19 grams fat, 12 grams saturated fat
    30 grams sugar
    (per cone)

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