When it comes to frozen desserts, two of the most popular options are gelato and ice cream. Many people think that the two are the same.
However, gelato and ice cream are different in terms of texture and ingredients, which is why their nutrition facts are not alike. Another difference is that one is better for your health than the other.
Gelato is healthier than ice cream because it usually has fewer calories, sugar, and fat. This makes the Italian dessert ideal for people who wish to stay healthy and maintain an ideal weight. However, gelato should still be eaten in moderation to avoid piling up calories.
It does not mean that gelato is always healthier than ice cream. Especially these days when light ice cream variants are around, opting for ice cream may be better for your health and waistline.
But then again, some gelato variants have fewer calories and fat than traditional gelato.
Especially if you are a health- and figure-conscious person, keep on reading. Below you will learn many more important things than just the answer to the question “is gelato healthier than ice cream?”
Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream
At first glance, it may seem like gelato and ice cream are one and the same. These two popular desserts, however, are different in more ways than one.
For instance, gelato originated from Italy.
On the other hand, ice cream was invented in China — but it was introduced to the US by Italy, the birthplace of gelato.
Besides the places of origin, gelato and ice cream differ in terms of the percentages of ingredients, nutrient content, storing and serving temperature, and air content.
Here are the key differences between gelato and ice cream in terms of various factors…
Percentages of Ingredients
Traditional gelato does not contain eggs. To make gelato rich, in some instances, cornstarch is used as an ingredient. Because gelato has more milk, it has lower fat content than ice cream.
Ice cream has less sugar than gelato but not by a mile. This is why both desserts should be eaten in moderation.
Nutrient Content – Percent Daily Value (Serving Size: 1/2 cup)
Please note that the percent daily values of the nutrients in a 1/2-cup serving of gelato and ice cream can change, depending on the flavor and ingredients used.
But, usually, gelato has more calcium than ice cream since it has more milk, which is calcium-rich.
Calorie and Fat Content (Serving Size: 1/2 cup)
Because gelato has less cream than ice cream, gelato usually has lesser calories and fat. However, the figures can change according to the flavor and ingredients used.
For instance, a 1/2-cup serving of vanilla ice cream has 140 calories. On the other hand, the same amount of butterscotch ice cream has 270 calories!
The same applies to gelato, depending on the flavor.
The way you prefer to eat your frozen desserts is a factor, too. For instance, eating ice cream in a waffle cone, which has 120 calories, can considerably increase its caloric content.
Storing and Serving Temperature
|-10ºF to -20ºF
|10°F to 22°F
|5°F to 10°F
It’s not a good idea to store gelato anywhere near the ideal storing temperature of ice cream. Otherwise, it will lose its texture, which is denser than ice cream.
Similarly, gelato is served at a higher temperature than ice cream. Because it’s not too cold, gelato tastes richer.
Percentage of Air Content
|25% or less
Ice cream has more air content than gelato because it is churned faster. The faster the churning process, the more air is introduced.
This is why ice cream has an airier and softer consistency than gelato.
On the other hand, gelato is denser than ice cream. That’s because it has less air as a result of slow churning.
Is Gelato Healthier Than Ice Cream?
You are searching for the answer to the question “is gelato healthier than ice cream?” because you want to know if eating gelato is better for your health and figure, too.
Well, generally speaking, gelato is better for you than ice cream because it packs fewer calories, fat and some other things that can have an unfavorable effect on your body and physique if consumed in excessive amounts.
Besides your overall health and weight, however, there are other matters to consider, such as your digestive system and preferred diet.
Look no further — here are the answers to some questions about gelato being better than ice cream…
Is gelato gluten-free and dairy-free?
Traditionally, gelato is gluten-free. That’s because grains, some of which have gluten, are not one of the ingredients. However, gelato may not be gluten-free if a gluten-containing ingredient is added. Traditionally, gelato is NOT dairy-free. These days, however, there are daily-free gelato types.
It’s rare for gelato to have gluten in it. Gelato brands or flavors that contain gluten, most of the time, will have something similar to “contains gluten” printed on its packaging since some consumers cannot tolerate gluten.
Most gelato variants in the current market are not dairy-free. It doesn’t come as a surprise since milk is one of its ingredients.
As a matter of fact, a serving of gelato usually contains more milk than ice cream. Gelato may also contain cream, which means that it’s far from being dairy-free.
However, as mentioned above, there are dairy-free gelato variants today.
Is gelato lactose-free?
The majority of gelato options in the market are NOT lactose-free. Their main ingredients, which are milk and cream, are both rich in lactose. The good news is that there are lactose-free gelato variants around. Instead of cow’s milk and cream, lactose-free gelato options are made from nut milks.
You may be lactose intolerant if you experience symptoms like stomach cramps, stomach rumbling, nausea, bloating, excess gas, and diarrhea after eating anything that contains lactose — most dairy products have lactose.
Whether you are diagnosed with lactose intolerance or feel that you have it, there is no need to remove gelato from your life.
That’s because some gelato brands are lactose-free.
If the gelato you are about to place in your shopping cart is made from soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or any milk that’s not from a cow, it is safe for you to enjoy.
Is gelato vegan?
Gelato is NOT vegan. Two of its most important ingredients are milk and cream, both of which come from cows. Sometimes, gelato contains eggs, too, which are animal products. However, there are vegans (ovo-vegetarians) that include eggs in their diet. These days, vegan gelato versions are available.
Some people are vegans for health purposes. Others are vegans because of their religious beliefs. Then there are also those who are vegans out of concern over animals and the environment.
No matter the case, some gelato variants are vegans as they are made from nut milk like soy milk and almond milk. Alas, it’s not easy to find them.
If you are a vegan, the good news is that you can easily come across vegan gelato recipes on the internet. Many of them are surprisingly easy to follow, which makes sticking to your diet trouble-free.
Is gelato healthier than frozen yogurt?
Gelato is NOT healthier than frozen yogurt. Gelato has cream, while frozen yogurt has none, which helps bring down the latter’s caloric and fat content. One pint of gelato has 520 calories and 16 grams of fat. On the other hand, one pint of frozen yogurt has 360 calories and eight grams of fat only.
While frozen yogurt is healthier than gelato (and ice cream, too), there is something about it that can easily make it unhealthier than gelato. It’s none other than putting unhealthy toppings on it.
Also, refrain from assuming that frozen yogurt is as healthy as regular yogurt, especially Greek yogurt.
While it’s true that frozen yogurt contains cultured milk, too, the process of freezing kills beneficial bacteria in it. Needless to say, between frozen yogurt and regular yogurt, regular yogurt is healthier.
Healthy Gelato Brands
Generally speaking, gelato is healthier than ice cream.
However, not all gelato brands are cut from the same cloth. Some of them are better for the overall health and figure, too.
When shopping for gelato, it’s a good idea to opt for a brand (and flavor, too) that won’t wreak havoc on your well-being and weight if eaten in moderation.
Yes, even if gelato is healthier than ice cream, it’s still a must that you avoid eating lots and lots of it!
Compared to ice cream, gelato contains less sugar, milk, and cream. However, it doesn’t mean that gelato doesn’t have sugar, milk, and cream — it still contains those.
The good news is that a pint of gelato has less sugar and fat than a pint of ice cream.
However, things can get complicated when light ice cream, such as something low in sugar or sugar-free, is considered. We will talk more about this allegedly healthier dessert in a few.
But in the meantime, let’s put the spotlight on gelato…
Some brands of gelato are better for anyone who prefers to stay healthy and slim. If you do not want to be diagnosed with a serious disease that can be prevented with the right diet and lifestyle or end up shopping for bigger clothes, don’t stop reading now.
Below you will find some healthy gelato brands around.
Currently, California-based Revelé makes gelato in six flavors. They are Belgian chocolate, coffee toffee crunch, white chocolate raspberry, vanilla, cake batter and seasonal strawberries.
If you want one with the lowest calories, go for seasonal strawberries — a pint only has 320 calories.
Here are the rest of the nutrients found in every pint of the product…
- Fat 16 grams
- Carbohydrates 44 grams
- Sugar 20 grams
- Sodium 60 milligrams
- Protein 8 grams
- Fiber 0 grams
One of the leading brands on gelato out there is Talenti. Not too long ago, it launched a few low-sugar gelato flavors geared towards gelato lovers who would also love to keep their svelte figures intact.
Of the bunch, one of the most impressive calorie-wise is vanilla cinnamon. A pint of it has 213 calories only.
Let’s check out the nutritional profile of Talenti vanilla cinnamon gelato…
- Fat 7 grams
- Carbohydrates 45 grams
- Sugar 17 grams
- Sodium 93 milligrams
- Protein 5 grams
- Fiber 10 grams
Is Talenti gelato healthier than ice cream?
Since Talenti is gelato, which is considered healthier than ice cream, it is better for both your health and figure. Talenti gelato caters to people who are conscious about their well-being and weight. What’s more, according to its maker, Talenti gelato has more natural ingredients than ice cream.
If you are on the hunt for a healthier alternative to ice cream, look no further than gelato. Gelato is just like ice cream, but denser and tastier, which makes it so easy for certified ice cream lovers to love it, too.
Besides Talenti, there are other brands of gelato that you may go for. As a matter of fact, some of them may be healthier than Talenti, depending on your health needs.
For instance, Dolcezza mango gelato has zero sodium, which makes it better for the blood pressure than Talenti — Talenti can have around 100 milligrams of sodium per pint.
Is Talenti better than ice cream?
Talenti is better than ice cream in different ways, depending on the consumer’s need. If the goal is to lower one’s risk of health problems like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, Talenti is better than ice cream. If the goal is to have a denser and tastier treat, Talenti is better than ice cream.
Especially if your goal is to stay fit and healthy, there is no denying that Talenti gelato is better for you than ice cream. It is lower in the things that you don’t want to get in excessive amounts, from carbohydrates, calories, sugar to fat.
Keep in mind that Talenti is not the only brand of gelato in existence. Other brands are also around. Further, some of them are better nutrition-wise.
For instance, some brands have fewer calories while others have lesser fat. When shopping for gelato, don’t just look at the brand. Take a look at the nutrition facts on the packaging, too.
Among the many different gelato flavors, Dolcezza is offering, the best for consumers who are monitoring both their health and waistlines is mango.
It’s one of the plainest flavors around alright.
However, it can save you from having a panic attack each time you stand on the bathroom scale. That’s because a pint has 400 calories only.
Other nutrients found in every pint of mango-flavored gelato from Dolcezza include…
- Fat 0 grams
- Carbohydrates 96 grams
- Sugar 76 grams
- Sodium 0 milligrams
- Protein 0 grams
- Fiber 1 gram
Whole Foods Market
In the current market, one of the most authentic Italian gelato brands around is Whole Foods Market. Many of its offerings are higher in calories than the brands we talked about above.
Its pistachio offering has the least amount of calories. Per a one-pint serving of this gelato contains 427 calories only.
The following will give you a better idea of the product’s nutrition profile…
- Fat 19 grams
- Carbohydrates 60 grams
- Sugar 53 grams
- Sodium 80 milligrams
- Protein 8 grams
- Fiber 0 grams
Considering the examples given above, we can get an idea of which gelato brand is suited for which purpose. Let’s check out which one you should go for based on your specific needs…
- For reducing sugar intake to manage the weight and blood sugar levels: Talenti vanilla cinnamon
- For reducing fat intake to attain healthy weight and heart: Dolcezza mango
- For reducing carb intake to adhere to a low-carb weight-loss diet: Revelé seasonal strawberries
- For reducing sodium intake to ward off bloating and high blood pressure: Dolcezza mango
There is no need to fret and look for another dessert if you cannot find any of the above brands of healthy gelato in your area. That’s because you can make one in your kitchen in just a few easy steps!
You don’t have to be a seasoned gelato maker to come up with gelato that’s good for the health and figure and can impress the taste buds at the same time.
All you need to have is a little of your time and energy, and a whole lot of desire to stay fit and healthy while having a delectable frozen dessert.
Below, you will find an easy healthy single-serve gelato recipe. But here’s the best part: it yields a serving of gelato with less than 100 calories! Without further ado, here’s the incredibly simple recipe…
- 1 cup of cubed watermelons
- 1/4 cup of ripe banana
- Place cubed watermelons in a freezer-safe bowl and freeze for at least two hours.
- In a blender, combine frozen watermelon cubes, 1/4 cup of ripe banana, and a little stevia. Blend.
- Transfer to a freezer-safe bowl once smooth. Store in the freezer.
- Stir the mixture every 30 minutes or so to prevent ice crystals from forming.
- Once firm, serve and consume.
That’s how quick and simple it is to make healthy gelato with your own two hands!
Banana is used as a replacement for both milk and cream, making this homemade gelato creamy minus the fat.
And thanks to stevia, the outcome is a low-sugar and low-calorie treat that won’t harm your figure and blood sugar levels, too.
Before we proceed with the next topic (healthy ice cream brands), let us first answer a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) on gelato and one of the most well-known gelato brands, Talenti:
Is gelato better for you than ice cream?
Gelato is better than ice cream. It is suited for health- and figure-conscious people because it usually has fewer calories and fat. Gelato is better than ice cream taste-wise, too. Since it has less fat than ice milk, gelato is more flavorful and satisfying. This helps fend off excessive eating.
No matter if you are trying to live up to 100 years old or fit into a pair of skinny jeans, it is a good idea to choose gelato over ice cream because it contains less of the things that can harm your health and figure.
However, it doesn’t mean that you can eat gelato to your heart’s content. It’s true that gelato has less sugar, milk and cream than ice cream per serving.
But if you eat lots of gelato, the calories and fat can quickly pile up. There is no point in going for a healthier alternative to ice cream if you will eat it without restraint.
Healthy Ice Cream Brands
If you are hooked on ice cream but you don’t want to ruin both your health and figure, rejoice!
That’s because there are ice cream brands that cater to people who wish to live a long life and have a nice figure, too.
Before, food and beverage makers influenced the shopping and eating habits of the consumers.
Nowadays, fortunately, it is the other way around — it’s the consumers that are influencing companies in the food and beverage industry.
This is particularly true for consumers that are proactive when it comes to health matters.
It’s because of this why healthy ice cream brands came into being. Many of them appeared when people became aware of the serious health dangers of having a diet that’s high in sugar and fat.
A low-carb diet is something that a lot of people who want to be healthier and slimmer go for.
Basically, it’s all about staying away from anything that contains tons of carbohydrates, such as foods that are high in sugar and starch. By limiting the intake of carbohydrates, one can lose excess pounds and enjoy better overall health.
Various ice cream brands are perfect for people who are avoiding carbohydrate-rich foods but without turning their backs on desserts altogether.
Some options when it comes to ice cream lowest in sugar are:
One of the top-selling flavors of Arctic Zero is mint and chocolate cookies.
Coincidentally, it’s also one of the lowest in sugar from the brand. A pint of Arctic Zero mint and chocolate cookies contains 360 calories only.
Here’s the rest of the product’s nutrition facts for every pint of it…
- Fat 10 grams
- Carbohydrates 52 grams
- Sugar 44 grams
- Sodium 280 milligrams
- Protein 8 grams
- Fiber 12 grams
Another ice cream brand that is getting the attention of many people on the keto diet is Rebel as it has zero sugar.
And among its various flavors, butter pecan is the one that’s making a lot of heads turn toward its direction.
In a pint of Rebel butter pecan, there are 680 calories. Other nutrients found in the same serving are…
- Fat 68 grams
- Carbohydrates 40 grams
- Sugar 0 grams
- Sodium 280 milligrams
- Protein 8 grams
- Fiber 8 grams
If you want ice cream that’s both super creamy and low in calories, give Edy’s Slow-Churned ice cream a try. The name says it all — slow-churned ice cream tends to be the creamiest of the bunch.
One of the most popular flavors from the brand is vanilla bean. A pint has 400 calories and…
- Fat 12 grams
- Carbohydrates 56 grams
- Sugar 12 grams
- Sodium 120 milligrams
- Protein 12 grams
- Fiber 8 grams
Getting your ice cream and caffeine fix without ruining your figure is possible, thanks to Enlightened triple shot espresso. A serving (one pint) contains only 320 calories, so it’s great for the waist, buttocks and thighs.
The following are the rest of the product’s nutrition facts for every pint of it…
- Fat 6 grams
- Carbohydrates 72 grams
- Sugar 24 grams
- Sodium 120 milligrams
- Protein 28 grams
- Fiber 20 grams
Based on the examples above, we can have an idea of which ice cream brand is perfect for which purpose. Let’s check out which one you should go for based on your specific needs…
- For reducing sugar intake to control the weight and blood sugar levels: Rebel butter pecan
- For reducing fat to maintain healthy weight and cardiovascular system: Enlightened triple shot espresso
- For reducing carbohydrate intake to stick to a low-carb diet: Rebel butter pecan
- For reducing sodium intake to fend off bloating and hypertension: it’s a tie between Edy’s Slow-Churned vanilla bean and Enlightened triple shot espresso
Some or all of the above-mentioned healthy ice cream brands may not be available in any of the stores in your area.
Fret not if you are a health- or figure-conscious individual and cannot get your hands on a low-calorie type of ice cream. It’s because you can make one from scratch.
And get this: you can make homemade ice cream even without an ice cream maker!
Below, you will find a simple healthy single-serve ice cream — it yields one pint that packs only 130 calories. Just follow these steps to keep your health and waistline out of harm’s way…
- 1 and 3/4 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup of soy creamer
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- Place unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, sea salt and stevia in a bowl.
- Mix the ingredients very well using a wire whisk.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray. Stash the ice cube tray in the freezer.
- Once the mixture is frozen, blend in a blender until almost powdered.
- Add soy creamer. Blend until smooth and enjoy immediately.
That’s it — you just made your very first low-calorie ice cream without an ice cream maker!
Besides soy milk, your favorite add-ins may be thrown into the blender, too. However, they will increase the caloric content of your homemade ice cream.
Needless to say, it’s a great idea to opt for add-ins that are healthy and low in calories.
Is light ice cream healthy?
Light ice cream is healthy in the sense that it is low in sugar and fat. However, based on studies, light ice cream does not necessarily promote weight loss as the calories and fat can add up. Eating light ice cream in excessive amounts is possible because of reduced satisfaction and self-control.
Refrain from assuming that welcoming light ice cream into your life will certainly make you healthier and slimmer. As a matter of fact, if you’re not careful, this type of ice cream can do more harm than good.
It was back in the 1990s when low-fat food products became popular. This is especially true among consumers who wanted to drop excess pounds to keep themselves from gaining weight.
Unfortunately, to date, there is no evidence that low-fat food promotes weight loss. Moreover, many studies suggest that they can do the opposite.
Here are some of the reasons why light ice cream may cause you to gain rather than lose unwanted pounds…
- It is less satisfying. Fat can help make ice cream taste better. By removing lots of fat, ice cream may not be as satisfying as ice cream with the usual amount of fat. To feel satisfied, you may end up eating more light ice cream than you would regular ice cream, thus causing you to consume lots of fat.
- It may encourage you to eat unhealthily. Because light ice cream sounds healthy, you may feel that it is perfectly fine to reach for slices of pizza, burgers, donuts, fries and others that are bad for your health. However, it doesn’t work that way. Eating something healthy doesn’t mean that you can eat something unhealthy.
- It may keep you from exercising. To lose weight, it’s not enough that you eat right. You should also get your regular dose of exercise. Going for light ice cream may make you believe that there is no need to exercise since the treat is low in fat. Alas, losing weight successfully requires regular exercise.
Above, it was mentioned that fat is one of the reasons why ice cream is irresistible. With very little to no fat, it becomes less palatable. To make up for this, light ice cream makers add artificial flavorings.
It’s no secret that just about anything that contains artificial ingredients is not healthy.
But there’s hope. If going for light ice cream is a must, consider a brand that relies on natural flavors only to make its offering taste fantastic.
As a general rule of thumb, the more natural the ingredients, the healthier the food product. When shopping for light ice cream, as always, read the list of ingredients first.
Healthy Ice Cream Alternatives
In many instances, even the healthiest ice cream on the face of the planet, whether store-bought or homemade, can still leave you feeling a little guilty after feasting on it.
What’s more, even if they are better than the rest, eating healthy ice cream in moderation is still a definite must.
Fortunately, there are many healthy alternatives to ice cream that can please your sweet tooth, too!
Going for healthy ice cream substitutes can help save you from getting more calories and fat than you need.
What’s more, snacking on them will also allow your body to get nutrients that ice cream does not or rarely offers.
Without further ado, let’s check out some of the most delicious and nutritious alternatives to ice cream…
- Frozen bananas. Especially during the summertime, nothing can keep you cool and healthy than frozen bananas. Bananas are packed with fiber that’s good for the heart and gut. What’s so nice about frozen bananas is that you can dip it in sugar-free chocolate syrup or any other low- or zero-calorie syrup that you like.
- Overnight oats. Instead of cooking oats in the microwave or on a stovetop, make overnight oats. It involves soaking oats in milk and storing them in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight. For healthy overnight oats, use skim milk or nut milk, like almond milk. Topping overnight oats with fruit slices is a great idea.
- Sorbet. Also called “Italian ice”, sorbet is made from water, sugar and fruit puree. Because it does not contain milk or cream, sorbet is low in calories and fat. To bring down its caloric content, make sorbet with your own two hands. But instead of sweetening it with sugar, sweeten it with stevia or any artificial sweetener.
- Greek yogurt. Not all yogurts are healthy — you should stay away from anything that has sugar and artificial ingredients. If you want a healthy ice cream alternative, go for Greek yogurt. You can turn it into frozen yogurt with the help of an ice cream maker. Without it, Greek yogurt will turn rock-hard in the freezer.
- Homemade jello. Store-bought jello is packed with sugar, calories and artificial flavorings and colorings. The good news is that it’s so easy to make a healthy version at home. All you have to do is dissolve unflavored gelatin in your favorite fruit juice (natural) and sweeten it with stevia. Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Just Before You Choose Between Gelato and Ice Cream
When choosing between gelato and ice cream, it’s a great idea to opt for what satisfies your sweet tooth better.
However, it’s also important that you take into account your overall health and figure, too, when choosing between these two well-known and well-loved frozen desserts.
Due to the different proportions of ingredients used, gelato is considered healthier than ice cream.
Unfortunately, you should still avoid eating gelato too much. Failure to limit the amount of this Italian treat that you eat can cause the calories, sugar, and fat to pile up, thus putting your health and weight at risk.
No matter if you prefer gelato over ice cream or vice versa, always remember to eat your favorite dessert in moderation.