On Monday we brought you our frozen favorites. We included brands we stand behind who utilize good ingredients and produce honest products, no evil ingredients or delayed digestive distress. Well that was then and this is now. Your favorite ice cream may have a dark side and it’s important that you know about it. I don’t love being the bubble burster so we put our summer nutrition nerd Joanna on ice cream investigation.
Here’s a taste of what she found…
Trans fats
Even though trans fats have been banned, many ice cream companies have found ways to sneak trans fats into their products.  If a food has less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving, the food label can read 0 grams trans fat. Look for “partially hydrogenated vegetable/soybean oil” in the ingredient list.  This screams trans fat. And why are trans fats so bad? They increase bad cholesterol, inflammation and cancer risk.

Milk, Skim Milk, Cookies {Bleached Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Baking Soda}, Suagr, Polydextrose, Pre-Dip (Soybean Oil, Cellulose Gel, Mono And Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Vanilla Extract And Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin, Polysorbate 80, Annatto For Color, Vitamin A Palmitate.

The list above are from a popular ice cream bar, let’s just say wish they were called “Ingredient Watchers”

Caramel Coloring
This ingredient has nothing to do with caramel. It is an artificial coloring commonly added to colas to give it their nice brown color.  Caramel coloring is contaminated with two chemicals, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, that the International Agency for Research on Cancer concludes are possibly carcinogenic to humans.  Cancer with your cone?  That doesn’t sound too sweet. 
Skim Milk, Wafer, (Bleached Wheat Flour, Sugar, Caramel Color, Dextrose, Palm Oil, Corn Flour, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Baking Soda, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Mono And Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Cocoa), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Polydextrose, Cream, Whey Protein, Calcium Carbonate, Inulin (Dietary Fiber), Propylene Glycol Monostearate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Guar Gum, Natural Flavor, Monoglycerides, Sorbitol, Carob Bean Gum, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate Carrageenan, Salt.
Why can’t we have healthy cow versus Skinny Cow? Ingredients for mint sandwich pictured above.

Artificial Colorings Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6
We’ve written about food dyes before, The three most widely used artificial colorings  Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 can cause allergy-like reactions.  Yellow 5 can also trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in some children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is pushing to ban these food dyes, which are unsafe and serve no nutritional purpose.  This You Tube video featuring blue Gatorade (Blue 1) is pretty compelling. Look for products that use natural foods such as beet juice for color.
To-poopy (couldn’t resist)
Sorbitol, Aspartame and other sneaky sweeteners
A nutritionist who will remain nameless, recently tweeted about the calorie savings from a certain coffee flavored tofu-based pop. Aside from the processed soy you’ll see sorbitol, the granddaddy of digestive distress and also aspartame. This sounds more like a price to pay than “savings”.

And before we wrap things up, a little bit about toppings.
Sprinkles: As pretty as sprinkles are, many companies use food dyes and partially hydrogenated oils to make their sprinkles.  Look for a company called India Tree, their Nature’s Colors use annatto and other natural colorings.
Maraschino Cherries: Red 40 is commonly used to give these cherries their bright color. Tillen Farms makes “Merry Marachino Cherries” free of preservatives or dyes and sweetened with cane sugar.

Fudge Topping: often  contains high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils.   We love Newtree’s Dark Chocolate Noir over ice cream.  At less than 40 calories a tablespoon, with good incredients, this is a “dark side” we’re ok with.

Newtree is offering 1 free Dark Chocolate Noir (good on fruit, ice cream on a spoon) to one of our readers. To be eligible: comment and tell us your favorite ice cream topping and if you have any cows, watchers or topoopy lurking in your freezer. Winner announced Friday, please check back.


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