Food Fight: Light Ice Creams vs. Full-Fat Ice Creams

While you may think that it’s a no-brainer when it comes to which tastes better between a full-fat and reduced-fat bowl of ice cream, a recent study by Consumer Reports may surprise you. Their survey gives us the low-down on which light ice creams are the best for your taste buds, waistline and your wallet.

food fight

Consumer Reports took four ice cream makers and selected two of the same flavors that each of them sells, one full-fat and one light and compared them on calories, fat, price and overall taste. Here’s the skinny (or the chunky):

haagen dazs five coffeeHaagen Daz Coffee vs. Haagen Daz Five Coffee

Don’t expect to get slim eating Haagen Daz, but the Five version ran off with less calories and fat (220 and 12 grams of fat) and a better overall taste and texture than the full-fat kind. Of all the four brands tested, Haagen Daz also won the most expensive award with one serving costing more than one dollar.

Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food vs. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food Light: If you thought that “light” and Ben & Jerry’s was an oxymoron, you’re right. While most light ice creams come in at just about 120 calories or less per half-cup serving, Ben & Jerry’s Light Phish Food ice cream weighs in at 210 calories and 6 grams of fat while the full-fat version contains 270 calories and 12 grams of fat per serving. In regards to taste, the full-fat version runs off with the yummy award since the Phish Light is rumored to have a slighter sweet, but more artificial, taste to it.

Edy’s/Dreyer’s Grand Mint Chocolate Chip vs. Edy’s/Dreyer’s Slow Churned Light Mint Chocolate Chip

With probably the most robust menu of ice creams to choose from, Edy’s/Dreyer’s ice creams have something for everyone’s taste buds and waistline. In regards to the war between their mint chocolate chip varieties, the full-fat, Grand style comes in at 170 calories and 9 grams of fat per half-cup serving while the Light comes in at 120 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per serving. Both versions received glowing reports for their taste (lots of mint with big flavorful chips) and among all of the four ice cream brands tested, Edy’s/Dreyer’s wins the wallet-friendly award with each serving costing less than $.42.

breyers butter pecanBreyers All Natural Butter Pecan vs. Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Light Butter Pecan

There isn’t too much difference in the calories between these two styles: The All Natural contains 150 calories and 10 grams of fat per half-cup serving and the Smooth and Dreamy Light contains 130 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving. Consumer Reports taste testers reported a pretty even face-off between the two, but the overall winner actually goes to the Light version with its smoother and more buttery taste. Similar to Edy’s/Dreyer’s, financially, Breyers is a pretty economical bet for your wallet with each serving amounting to just $.40.

So there you go: Grab your spoon, pick your flavor and dive in!

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