Best Ice Creams For Weight Loss

None of us would ever think of ice cream as a great food for shedding weight and improving our health.

But many ice cream parlors of late seem to be gunning for Guinness records considering the gargantuan amounts of calories and saturated fat they’re packing into each scoop. In this article, learn what’s worst, better, and best in the world of ice creams for weight loss and good health.

Best and Worst Ice Creams for Weight Loss and Health

Discover the best ice creams and frozen desserts for weight loss and good health. Plus easy guilt-free ice cream recipes you can make at home.

Worst Ice Cream Choices

At Coldstone’s Creamery, one small-sized serving (just 5 ounces) of Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream has 410 calories and 13 grams of artery-busting saturated fat – the equivalent of a Quarter Pounder with Bacon and Cheese.

Want toppings and more ice cream? You’ll find it at many ice cream shops. Just make sure your cardiologist’s number is in your contact list. For example, a Mint Chip Dazzler at Haagen-Daz (3 scoops of mint chip ice cream, hot fudge, cookie pieces, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles) adds up to a heart-stopping (literally) 1,270 calories and 38 grams of saturated fat. It’s like ordering a half-pound of spareribs and three slices of double-cheese pizza – for your dessert.

Whole natural fruit is better than ice cream for dessert.

Nature’s Treats

Now certainly, there are healthier frozen dessert choices in ice cream parlors and supermarkets. And in just a bit, we’ll list some better and best ice creams for weight loss and good health.

But first keep in mind that when it comes to dessert, what’s best of all is not in the frozen food aisle. It’s nature’s own candy – season-fresh fruit like sweet, luscious cherries, vine-ripened peaches, and cold chunks of watermelon.

With fresh fruit, explain the dietitians in nutrition workshops at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, you’re getting not only big flavor but a big, marvelous array of vitamins, minerals, and other health-enhancing nutrients. Plus, you’ve chosen what’s truly the best dessert for helping you peel off body fat.

And do always ask yourself: “Am I hungry for dessert? Or am I simply hungry for some kind of reward at day’s end?” Try to get in the habit of seeking out zero-calorie joys like a walk at sunset, a really good movie, a massage, an evening swim, a game of golf at twilight, or time with a great friend, recommends psychologist Dr. Coral Arvon in behavior change counseling at Pritikin.

Still want ice cream every now and then? Okay! But before heading out for the market, ask yourself these two questions.


How much am I scooping out?

Turn around any container of ice cream and you’ll likely see on the Nutrition Facts label that the serving size is a half cup. A level half cup. That’s the same size as those little single-serving containers of Jello pudding or Activia yogurt. Yep, four or five bites and it’s all over.

So unless you’re being really careful (or using teeny-tiny bowls), you’re probably scooping out at least a cup, which means twice the calories, twice the saturated fat, and twice the sugar listed on the label.

It also means that an ice cream that says it has zero grams of saturated fat may in fact contain saturated fat. 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 cream in the Ingredient List. Double your serving and you’re taking in a full gram of plaque-building fat.


Am I keeping a lid on not only fat but calories and sugar?

It’s difficult to know exactly how much added sugar a serving of ice cream contains because the number you see for grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts label includes added sugars as well as the naturally-occurring (and Pritikin-friendly) sugars from the milk and fruit ingredients.

100 calories

Suffice it to say that if you’re sticking with fat-free ice creams and frozen yogurts that have 100 calories or fewer per serving, you’re probably not getting more than 3 teaspoons of added sugar.

Avoiding added sugar in ice cream will promote weight loss.

Now, 3 teaspoons of added, refined sugar is still a lot, particularly if you’re concerned about your blood glucose and triglyceride levels, not to mention your waistline.

Our doctors and dietitians at Pritikin are far from alone in their concerns about added sugars.The American Heart Association now recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar (for women) or 9 teaspoons (for men) for the entire day.

The problem is, it’s really tough, if not impossible, to find ice creams that are both fat-free and sugar-free. And with sugar-free ice creams, you’re often getting a fair amount of fat, especially heart-damaging saturated fat. So the better choice, usually, is fat-free ice creams and frozen yogurts that keep calorie count (and therefore added sugars) relatively low.

Better Ice Creams For Weight Loss

Below are better choices in markets today in terms of calorie, saturated fat, and sugar content. We call them “better choices” – not “best” choices – because if you’re trying to lose weight, “you’ve really got to stick to the half-cup serving size.  This is a high-calorie-dense food,” points out Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin. “The other problem is that the pint or half-gallon container is sitting in the freezer, calling out to you to scoop out more later on in the evening.”

“Know yourself,” advises Kimberly. “If you can stop at a half-cup, the following choices are probably fine. But if you can’t, these store-bought products can stop weight loss in its tracks, and maybe even promote weight gain.”

Breyer’s® Deliciously Rich & Creamy, Fat Free

Breyer's Fat-Free Ice Cream is Good for Weight Loss
  • Creamy Vanilla
  • Chocolate
Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Calories: 90
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 2 teaspoons

Lifeway® Frozen Kefir

Lifeway Frozen Kefir is an excellent ice cream for weight loss.
  • Original
  • Pomegranate
  • Strawberry
  • Mango
Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Calories: 90
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 2.5 teaspoons

Stonyfield® Organic Nonfat Frozen Yogurt

Stonyfield Ice Cream is a good brand for weight loss.
  • Gotta Have Vanilla
  • Gotta Have Java
  • After Dark Chocolate
Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Calories: 100
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 3 teaspoons

Best Ice Creams For Weight Loss

Best choices for weight loss and good health include all-fruit frozen desserts that you can whip up with high-speed blenders like Vitamix, Blendtec, or Yonanas.

Another best choice are all-fruit, no-sugar-added popsicles like:

Dreyer’s® or Edy’s® Outshine No-Sugar-Added Fruit Bars

Fruit Bars are Best for Weight Loss
  • Black Cherry
  • Strawberry-Kiwi
  • Mixed Berry
  • Strawberry
  • Tangerine
  • Raspberry
Nutrition Information (per popsicle):

Calories: 25 to 30
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 0g

Additional Best Ice Creams For Weight Loss

Among best ice creams for weight loss and good health are three recipes for icy cold delights that our talented chefs teach in cooking classes at the Pritikin Longevity Center:

Healthy Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Banana Blueberry Ripple “Ice Cream”

Very Berry Ice Cream

Strawberry Sorbet

Here’s another best choice that delivers cold, creamy crunch. And it’s super simple:

Shaved Ice, Yogurt, and Fresh Berries

Spoon out about ¾ cup of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt into a dessert bowl. Swirl in a packet of Splenda and a handful of fresh berries. To make shaved ice, drop 6 or 7 ice cubes into a food processor and pulse until ice is flaky but not slushy (about 45 seconds). Fold shaved ice into yogurt and berries. Refreshing and so fast and easy!

Ben & Jerry's Frozen Greek Yogurt

We love Greek yogurt for health and weight loss, so we took a close look at a new product. Is Ben & Jerry’s new line of frozen Greek yogurt healthy?

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