The truth About Ice Cream

August 17, 2017

It’s no secret that we all crave smooth and creamy ice cream from time to time! 


 But before indulging in this delicious cold dessert let’s step back and learn a little bit about our favorite ice cream varieties.


This blog was written by Fatima Hallal, a Nutrition and Dietetics student at the University of Canberra and reviewed by Rola GhaddarUS Registered Dietitian and Certified Health Coach at Healthy Happy Us, a nutrition and exercise diet center in Beirut, Lebanon.


When we think of ice cream the first things that come into our mind is calories, sugar and fat. But, we have good news for you!  Did you know that ice cream can be healthy! When eaten in moderation some ice cream can be a great source calcium and vitamin A and is generally lower in fat than other desserts.


This article will give you a closer look to the difference between the various types of ice cream, how they’re made and their nutrition facts. 

Ordinary Ice Cream 

This one is the modern commercial ice cream that everyone is familiar with. It is churned at a low temperature and air is incorporated into the ice cream to keep it from freezing into a solid mass. The regular full fat ice cream has at least 10% milk fat which is necessary to give it the creamy texture. Other ingredients include sugar (cane sugar or corn syrup) and flavorings, which can be from either natural or artificial sources. There are also low-fat choices in this category but often have extra sugar or additives added to make up for the change in taste and texture.

Ordinary Ice Cream

Ordinary Ice Cream


This indulgent Italian treat is made primarily of whole milk, thus contributing to its lower fat content (~4-8%) compared to ordinary ice cream. A good quality gelato is usually made of natural flavors such as fruits and nut purees. Despite its lower-fat content, its smooth texture and intense flavor can be attributed to its low air content, which is 50% less than commercial ice cream. The sugar content of gelato varies depending on the flavor, its best to go for fruit flavors because there would be less added sugars. 

Gelato Ice Cream

Gelato Ice Cream


Similar to those enjoyed by the ancient Romans, this cold treat is made from frozen water and fruit puree or juice. Sorbets contain no dairy, so they are good for people who are vegan or lactose intolerant. Note that some sorbets use fruit as the only source of sweetness but not all, so it is important to always read the ingredients. Compared to ice cream and gelato, sorbet has little nutritional value.

Blueberry Sorbet Ice Cream

Booza (بوظة)

Also known as mastic ice cream this traditional cold dessert is made in Arab countries and in Turkey. It is made with Sahlab which gives it its stretchy and sticky texture and the ability to resist melting, perfect to enjoy in the summer heat. Important ingredients to make Booza include; ground roots of the orchid and gum from the mastic tree (Mastica). Flavors can also vary from pistachio to Halawa to chocolate.

Booza (Arabic Ice Cream)

Booza (Arabic Ice Cream)


What is the difference?


Ice cream




–        Made from cream, milk, milk solids and sugar.

–        High in calories.

–        High in fat and sugar.

–        Made from whole milk and fruit or nut purees.

–        Lower in fat than regular ice cream.

–        Can be high in sugar.

–        Made from ice and fruit juice or puree.

–        Has no fat and is low in calories.

–        High in sugar.

–        No dairy.

–        Made from milk, sugar, sahlab and mastic.

–        Similar fat content to gelato.

–        High in sugar.


Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition facts! 

Below is a table for you to get an idea of the energy, fat and sugar content of these ice cream varieties, these can differ depending on the ingredient used.



Ice cream (regular)

Ice cream (low fat)




Nutritional content per 100g


 207 kcal













Saturated fat




















The verdict

There is nothing wrong with indulging occasionally but it is important to be mindful of the portion and nutritional content. Alternatively, you can always make your own ice cream at home check out this link for 4 easy to prepare refreshing and satisfying healthy alternatives.


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Rola Ghaddar

US Registered Dietitian at Healthy Happy Us
Her smile, positive energy and optimism are transferred to the people around her. She always has ways to motivate you to achieve your health goals! She has a passion for nutrition education and she is bound to make your healthy living journey a fun learning experience. Her extensive experience with NGOs and Syrian refugees allows her to comfortably communicate, counsel, and educate people from different backgrounds and age groups. Her patience is incomparable, as she's always ready to answer all her client’s inquiries.
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