Best Ice Creams For High Cholesterol

Can you have ice cream and keep your cholesterol in check?

Yes, but it’s a challenge. There are pints of ice cream that pack in as much cholesterol-raising fat as four Big Macs. That’s right, four. From the doctors and dietitians at the renowned Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, get tips for finding the best ice creams for high cholesterol.

Best Ice Creams for Lowering High Cholesterol

“Me and ice cream. Best friends forever!” laughs author Terri Guillemets. Unfortunately, most ice creams are not friends with our hearts. In this article, learn what to avoid, and what are the best ice creams for high cholesterol.

Who doesn’t love a cold, creamy dessert on a hot day?

The trick is finding good treats that are also good for you. Treats that won’t coat your arteries with cholesterol-filled plaque.

It’s a skill that the physicians, dietitians, and chefs at the Pritikin Longevity Center have been teaching since 1975.

The rewards are sweet indeed. More than 100 studies in peer-reviewed journals have found that the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise improved virtually every modifiable risk factor for heart disease, including high cholesterol and triglycerides,1 high blood pressure,2 excess weight,3 and high blood sugar,4 and all within two to three weeks.

To find the best ice creams for high cholesterol at the grocery store, here are basic guidelines from the experts at Pritikin.

Best Ice Creams For High Cholesterol

Your most important goal is steering clear of the following three:

  • Saturated fat (found in whole milk, low-fat milk, cream, and tropical oils like coconut oil and palm oil)
  • Trans fat (usually known as partially hydrogenated oil)
  • Cholesterol (found in large amounts in egg yolks)

“All three increase blood levels of LDL and non-HDL cholesterol, which are known as the ‘bad’ cholesterols,” explains Seth Marquit, MD, Medical Director at the Pritikin health resort.

“The higher your levels of LDL and non-HDL, the greater your risk of diseased, plaque-ridden arteries, and a heart attack or stroke.”

Best Ice Creams For High Cholesterol
Tip 1 | Read the Nutrition Facts Label

“Don’t believe anything you see on the front of a carton,” advises Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin. “What’s there is usually hype, not fact.”

Instead, turn the product around and look at the Nutrition Facts Label. Optimally, you want to see 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fats, and 0 grams of cholesterol.

Best Ice Creams For High Cholesterol
Tip 2 | Read the Ingredient List

Now, you’d think you could stop at the Nutrition Facts Label if you found 0 grams of sat fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. But life sometimes isn’t so easy.

Here’s the problem. An ice cream that says it has 0 grams of saturated fat may in fact contain saturated fat.

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That’s because food companies are allowed by the FDA to “round down” their ingredients to zero. So a serving of fat-free ice cream could actually contain a half gram of saturated fat, especially if you’re seeing ingredients like cream or whole milk in the Ingredient List. Double your serving and you may be taking in a full gram of plaque-building fat.

The same goes for trans fat. If you see partially hydrogenated oil in the Ingredient List, that ice cream has trans fat.

Like saturated fat, just a little bit of trans fat is bad news for your heart. So bad, in fact, that the FDA is currently taking steps to remove artificial trans fat from the food supply. These steps, says the FDA, are “expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

Best Ice Creams For High Cholesterol
Tip 3 | Keep Track Of How Much You’re Scooping Out

For just about every container of ice cream, you’ll see on the Nutrition Facts label that a serving size is a half cup. A level half cup. That’s the same size as those little single-serving containers of Jello pudding. Yes, four spoonful’s and it’s all over.

So unless you’re being really careful (or using really small bowls), you’re probably scooping out at least a cup, which means twice the saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol listed on the label. And, as discussed in the previous tip, 0 grams might actually add up to 1 full gram.

If you can stop at a half cup, wow, congratulations! (This writer cannot.)

Best Ice Creams For High Cholesterol
Tip 4 | Remember That “NonDairy” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Healthy”

Freezer aisles are now full of ice creams that tout themselves as heart-healthy because they’re dairy-free.

And sure, it’s great that they don’t contain saturated-fat-rich ingredients like whole milk and cream. But egad! Manufacturers are often replacing that dairy milk and cream with things that have more saturated fat, like coconut milk.

A serving of Coconut Bliss Ice Cream, for example, averages about 12 grams of saturated fat. This one little half-cup of ice cream has as much saturated fat as a Quarter Pounder With Cheese.

Best Ice Creams For High Cholesterol
Tip 5 | Watch Calorie Density (Even If You’re Thin)

Many ice creams that are free of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol do have a lot of added sugar, which means they’re dense with calories.

Now if you’re thin, you don’t have to be super-diligent. Enjoy that raspberry sorbet every now and then.

But don’t go overboard with the sorbet or any calorie-dense food. Doing so means you’ll likely put on pounds. That’s a problem for heart health. Being overweight or obese is an independent risk factor for heart disease, just as high cholesterol is.

Best Dessert For High Cholesterol

Now for the good news. There’s a way to enjoy “sweet” and lower your cholesterol at the same time.  Yes, it’s a win-win!

You can do so by enjoying nature’s own candy – luscious, in-season choices like blueberries, raspberries, cherries, plums, peaches, and watermelon.

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With fresh fruit, explain the dietitians in nutrition workshops at the Pritikin health resort, you’re getting not only big flavor but also a big, marvelous dose of soluble fiber.

Soluble-fiber-rich foods have been proven to be successful in decreasing cholesterol levels – as effective, in fact, as statins.

Plus, by choosing fruit you’ve chosen what’s truly the best dessert for helping you peel off body fat.

And with fruit, you can eat! You don’t have to stop after one measly half-cup.

Delish Homemade Healthy Ice Cream

At Pritikin, dietitian Kimberly Gomer encourages guests to whip up their own tasty frozen desserts with an easy-to-use, soft-service machine called Yonanas. “You take frozen bananas and other frozen fruit, put it through the machine, and there you have it – awesome ice cream!”

Shopping List | Best Ice Creams and Other Frozen Desserts

Below are better and best choices in markets today in terms of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol content. They’re also low in calories – 100 calories or fewer per serving – which means their sugar content is fairly low.

“Do your best to stick to the half-cup serving size,” advises Kimberly Gomer. “It’s your best guarantee that you’re keeping a lid on both artery-damaging ingredients and calorie-dense sugars.”

Breyer’s® Deliciously Rich & Creamy, Fat Free

Breyer's Fat-Free Ice Cream is Lowering Cholesterol
Flavors:
  • Creamy Vanilla
  • Chocolate

Learn more at Breyers.com

Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Saturated Fat: 0g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Calories: 90

Weight Watchers® Snack Size Mocha Latte Bars

Weight Watchers Ice Cream Doesn't Raise Cholesterol
Flavors:
  • Mocha Latte

Learn more at WeightWatchers.com

Nutrition Information (per bar):

Saturated Fat: 0g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Calories: 45

Lifeway® Frozen Kefir Bars

Lifeway Frozen Kefir is an excellent frozen treat if you have high cholesterol.
Flavors:
  • Vanilla
  • Pear
  • Coconut

Learn more at LifewayKefir.com

Nutrition Information (per bar):

Saturated Fat: 0g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 2 to 5mg
Calories: 60

Stonyfield® Organic Nonfat Frozen Yogurt

Stonyfield Ice Cream doesn't raise your cholesterol.
Flavors:
  • Gotta Have Vanilla
  • Gotta Have Java
  • After Dark Chocolate

Learn more at Stonyfield.com

Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Saturated Fat: 0g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: less than 5mg
Calories: 100

Outshine® No-Sugar-Added Fruit Bars

Fruit Bars are the best frozen treat if you have High Cholesterol
Flavors:
  • Black Cherry
  • Strawberry-Kiwi
  • Mixed Berry
  • Strawberry
  • Tangerine
  • Raspberry

Learn more at OutshineSnacks.com

Nutrition Information (per popsicle):

Saturated Fat: 0g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Calories: 25 to 30

Best Ice Creams For Weight Loss, Diabetes

If you have friends and family trying to shed pounds or keep their blood sugar under control, share with them our nutritionists’ other articles on healthy ice cream tips: Best Ice Creams For Weight Loss and Best Ice Creams For Diabetics.

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