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Are light ice creams worth scooping up?

June 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sales of ice cream are expected to top $4 billion this year. But if you are watching your weight, are those light ice creams worth scooping up? ABC7 Food Coach Lori Corbin teamed up with Consumer Reports to compare several full-fat ice creams against their lighter versions to see how they stack up.

Many people love ice cream, but not everyone has the same fondness for the light version of the frozen treat.

Consumer Reports taste-tested both the regular and light versions of three favorite flavors. Consumer Reports evaluated Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, Breyers Butter Pecan and Dreyer's Mint Chocolate Chip. In addition, testers checked out Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream and Haagen-Dazs Five, its new, reduced-fat counterpart.

"Technically, the Haagen-Dazs Five is not a light ice cream because in order to qualify for that label, it has to have a third fewer calories or half the fat of the full-fat version," said Erin Gudeux, Consumer Reports. "But it does have a third less fat than the regular Haagen-Dazs."

Testers were impressed by the taste Haagen-Dazs Five offered. It was denser and creamier than the regular version.

The three light ice creams impressed testers as well.

"They weren't exactly the same as the regular versions, but the testers said all three were quite tasty and flavorful," said Gudeux.

If you're trying to count calories Consumer Reports says your two best light bets are Breyers and Dreyer's.

Dreyer's Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip was minty with lots of delicious chocolate chips. Breyers Light ice cream was even better.

"The Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Butter Pecan is sweeter and tastes more buttery than the regular version," said Gudeux.

Both ice creams cost less than half as much as Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's.

Shoppers should remember "light" for one brand is not the same as another. Among the light ice creams, testers found a difference of as much as 90 calories per serving. So if you're trying to lose weight, check the nutrition information before you buy.

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