If we want to
splurge on soy ice cream, which one is the least fattening?
It is not likely that we will find a soy ice cream that is
actually good for us. Anything that is creamy and sweet enough to taste
like ice cream can't be healthy, can it? Follow along below as we
ingredients in a few vegan frozen
desserts. To understand
our discussion of the different products, take our quick course in
reading nutrition labels.
Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent
This company wins awards for the great taste of their soy
ice cream. Their line made of coconut milk instead of soy milk is
especially popular. But
it fit with our weight loss program, and is it healthy?
The Nutrition Facts label tells us much of what we want to know:
Not familiar with calorie density? Read this important
information about the calorie content of foods.
- One serving contains 210 calories and 120 of
those calories are from fat. At 57% fat, it truly is decadent.....and
fattening. And a serving has 9 g of saturated fat.
- There are 40 mg of sodium in a serving. No
- A serving contains 6 g of fiber. That is
great.....for ice cream.
- The calorie density is 210/85 = 2.47 calories
per gram or 70 calories
per ounce. (2.47 x 28.35) That is too high.
Next we look at the list of ingredients:
The good news is, agave nectar is a low glycemic sweetener, although it
is still a sugar. And carob bean gum and guar gum are better
thickeners than carrageenen. We appreciate the fact that this company
tries to use high quality ingredients. And without a doubt, this
product is delicious.
- The first ingredient is coconut milk, a highly
saturated fat. Not only
is it fattening, but it will damage our blood vessels too.
- The peanut butter they added contains soybean
oil, sugar, and salt. Too
bad it wasn't simply ground peanuts.
- The coconut oil in the chocolate flake adds
more saturated fat to the
- We would like to know exactly what natural
flavors they added.
But for us, the coconut milk is the problem. Some people will tell you
that coconut milk/oil is a "good" saturated fat. Some even say it
promotes weight loss. In our book, the less saturated fat the better,
no matter what the source. And a product that is 57% fat will not help
our weight loss efforts at all. Let's look at another product.
Here is another soy ice cream for us to analyze. The front of the
carton says it is made with green tea. That sounds healthy, doesn't it?
Ignore the front of the carton and read on.
Here are the important Nutrition Facts:
- There are 70 fat calories in a 140-calorie
serving. That means it is
50% fat: clearly not a weight loss product.
- The sodium is OK, at 125 mg in 140 calories. Up
to 140 mg would be
- Less than a gram of fiber is pretty poor.
- The calorie density is 140/70, or 2 calories
per gram. That is the same
as 57 calories per ounce. It is not a low calorie food.
What can we learn from the list of ingredients?
our suggestions about
choosing a milk substitute to understand why we try to avoid
Let's look at another product.
- The first ingredient in the "soy base" is sugar.
Brown rice syrup solids
are another form of sugar. This product contains twice as much sugar
- It would be nice if all of the fat came
from whole soybeans, and not from processed oils.
- We want to avoid carrageenan if
- Natural green tea flavor could be very
different from healthful green tea. And we have questions about the
other natural flavors.
Turtle Mountain Soy Delicious
Turtle Mountain's coconut milk ice cream was way too rich for our
loss diet. Maybe their "fruit-sweetened' soy ice cream is a better
First we read the Nutrition Facts label:
It is time to read the list of ingredients:
- The fat content is 40/140, or 29% of
calories from fat. That is a little better.
- There are 175 mg of sodium in a 140-calorie
serving. That is a bit too high.
There should be less than 140 mg in a serving.
- A serving of this product contains 3 g
fiber. Pretty good.
- For the calorie density, divide 140
calories by 81 g and you get 1.73
calorie per gram. Multiply by 28.35 and you get 49 calories
per ounce, the same as in whole soybeans.
- The main sweetener is not fruit at all,
but tapioca syrup and/or brown rice syrup. The fruit juice concentrates
close to the bottom of the label.
This is the reason we ignore
nutrition claims on the front of packages; they can be misleading.
However, all sweeteners are empty calories,
more or less.
- We see the same problem
ingredients that were in the previous soy ice cream:
added oils, natural flavors, and carrageenan.
There must have been a lot of salt on the roasted almonds to drive
the sodium level so high. Most of their other
"fruit-sweetened" flavors have acceptable sodium levels. The almonds
and pecans also raised the
content of this flavor. The fat in most other flavors
was about 13 - 15%. Of course, if you add more sugar, the fat
percentage goes down.
Our conclusion: for those special
occasions when you want a non-dairy ice cream, Soy Delicious is a lower
fat product that tastes great. Turtle Mountain makes some rich,
high-fat products too. Be sure to read labels carefully when you shop.
In our search for low fat soy ice cream, we found some other
vegan ice cream
substitutes that are 8% fat or less. Of course, they do
contain sweeteners. So stick with fresh fruit most of the time and save
the frozen desserts for treats.