My gripe with "high-protein" ice creams

You've probably seem them in your grocer's freezer: ice creams that are lower in fat but rich in protein.
For any ice cream-loving person (I'm looking at a mirror for this one), this can come as a huge win. "You mean to tell me that I can eat an entire tub of ice cream without any guilt or excess fat?! Sign me up!"

After standing in front of the ice cream section with the freezer door wide open trying to find a flavor you want, you end up purchasing two in every flavor because just in case. And remember...these are "healthy."

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But what if it's too good to be true....?

Anyone that knows me, knows I love ice cream. I have a huge sweet tooth, but ice cream is probably my favorite dessert. (And ironically, I can't handle certain kinds of dairy.) When I want ice cream, I listen to that craving and get myself some ice cream.

But this new fad in low-calorie, high-protein ice creams left me stumped and a bit confused. While this ice cream may seem like a great idea in theory, when I started actually thinking about it, it started to drive me a bit crazy. 

These ice creams promote behaviors and have characteristics that I just can't get behind. 

Taste--You don't eat ice cream because it has protein. You eat ice cream because it has sugars and fat. That's what makes ice cream, and most foods, delicious. Fat is luscious  When manufacturers start tinkering with recipes, that when the taste and often texture of our beloved ice cream changes. Sometimes, it's left tasting like "diet." Other times it has an extremely ice texture.
Binge Eating--If something is marked as lower calorie, we have a tendency to eat more than we need. This form of marketing is promoting binge eating behavior. The ice cream is marketed as something that you can enjoy while watching TV, and not feel any guilt about accidentally eating the whole tub. We should not be disconnected and distracted from our hunger and fullness cues. If you want to eat a whole tub of ice cream, then eat a whole tub of ice cream, but make sure your body actually wants it. Instead, portion out a scoop or two and see how that satisfies your craving. 
Ingredients--When a manufacturer strays away from the classic ice cream recipe--cream, yolk, sugar--new and oftentimes artificial ingredients can be added as preservatives and thickeners. I'm not a huge fan of white sugar, but I prefer that into my ice cream than these gums and other things that I can't pronounce. 
Health Food--Ice cream is not a health food, and should not be marketed as one. Even the names of certain brans create a "good" and "bad" mentality around this frozen treat. It's the "healthy halo" effect. If a food is perceived as good, we'll eat more of it--and this goes back to an earlier point.
If you want a healthy frozen and creamy treat, eat a smoothie.

If you want to eat ice cream, then eat REAL ice cream. Look for brands made with real ingredients, and bonus points if the cream is from happy cows or the brand is organic. Or visit a local ice cream shoppe that specializes in homemade flavors made with local cream. Don't worry about the calories, fat content or protein content. Ice cream, and most desserts, are meant to be enjoyed and savored--not as a security blanket. Portion yourself out a small bowl and enjoy each bite. Be present, mindful and full of intent. When your fullness cues start to kick in, or if you've had enough of the sugary treat, stop eating. 

Yes, there are tons of healthy ice cream recipes available, and I have definitely made a few of my own. But even when making your own healthful version, they're still made with real ingredients and don't contain extra protein powders or fillers. 

Have questions about how to ready nutrition labels and how to find the best ice cream? Shoot me an email!

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