Real Food For Families

Choosing Ice Cream

on October 2, 2013


I guess this should be more of a summer post, but we are in the middle of an amazing stretch of sunny, warm weather here in the Northeast…and it’s just making me feel like writing about ice cream! As with many food products that we buy, ice cream has been sabotaged by the food industry. While it has never claimed to be anything more than a treat, the ice cream that our parents ate was quite different than the ice cream of today. And not just because a cone only cost a quarter back then. Ice cream is supposed to consist of things like cream, sugar and milk…but go take a look at the list of ingredients on the carton sitting in your freezer right now. Unless you make your own, the version that you have might list things like carrageenan and mono & diglycerides.

I looked into these ingredients and am thinking that I don’t really want them in my ice cream! From Dr. Andrew Weil’s website, “Carrageenan is a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed, Chondrus crispus, which is popularly known as Irish moss. Carrageenan, which has no nutritional value, has been used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk and other processed foods.” He goes on to discuss studies that have shown carrageenan to be harmful to human health and he recommends that you avoid foods that contain it, especially if you have irritable bowel syndrome.

According to the Live Strong website, mono and diglycerides are food additives that help to extend the shelf life of processed food. They help ingredients containing fat to combine with ingredients containing water. They may contain trans fats, but because they are classified as emulsifiers rather than lipids, the FDA does not require them to be labeled as trans fats. How sneaky is that?!

There are ice cream brands out there that stick to basic, natural ingredients, but as is usually the case, they are few and far between. Breyers used to proclaim that they used all natural ingredients, but since 2006, they have reformulated many of their products (as did their competitors) to the point where there is not even enough milk and cream to qualify as ice cream…they have to call them “frozen dairy desserts”. Sigh…I’m just shaking my head here.

Our current go to ice cream is the Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream brand. Be careful to buy the kind with the black around the sides of the lid. Their other products are not all natural. By the way, I apologize for not embedding links into this post to take you to Dr. Weil’s and the Livestrong websites…Apple updated their operating system…and things are just not functioning the same around the old iPad this week…I barely knew what I was doing before…and now I am quite confused. I’ll have it figured out soon…maybe.


2 responses to “Choosing Ice Cream

  1. kathy kuntz says:

    Great blog Debbie – however, that chocolate icecream cone my mom used to get me at the Cdga locker was only 5 cents!

  2. LeAnn says:

    Love the post. Thanks for the info!

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