What we call frozen dessert and what some food companies call frozen dessert nowadays is sometimes very different. You see, ice cream that contains more than four to six ingredients is no longer ice cream, but a sacrifice of quality that helps retailers keep prices down at the expense of your own health.
Even big brand producers put things into ice cream that you wouldn’t believe. And right now in Canada, there is big demand for ice cream. There are festivals happening all around the country, we had National Ice Cream Day on July 17 and sales are sky rocketing in supermarkets and at ice cream parlors. For ice cream specials check the latest supermarket flyers.
So needless to say, we like our frozen desserts, but when it comes to the following ingredients, not so much. Here’s what to look out for in ice cream.
Palm kernel oil
If you eat dairy-free, then you might be OK with having coconut oil instead of milk in your ice cream. But palm kernel oil? This is a vegetable oil used widely in the packaged foods industry primarily because it is very efficient, very cheap to produce. One hectare of palm crop can produce over 3.7 tons of oil while the same hectare of sunflower crop will only produce 0.48. You do the math.
Palm kernel oil is different from palm oil in that it contains more saturated fats that are detrimental to our health and mostly known to cause cardiovascular problems. So not only is palm kernel oil bad for the environment, it also has negative effects on our well being.
Ice cream, real ice cream that is, is made with real dairies: real milk, real cream, real eggs. But nowadays the legal requirements for ice cream are so permissive that a product can contain no more than approximately 2.5% milk protein in some countries and still be labeled as ice cream. And that is not even protein from real milk sometimes.
A whey solid is what is left after milk is turned into cheese and it is a milk replacement. The dairy industry used to dump this into rivers before starting to produce it in vast quantities as fillers for different products such as bakery goods and ice cream.
Using whey solids or whey powder is of course cost efficient, which is why ice cream producers have been using it for about six decades now. And although the very same manufacturers will tell you how nutritious whey powder is, here’s the thing: it is a highly processed by-product that undergoes such a denatured processing phase that the body can hardly recognize it. It’s not at all healthy.
Among all the extras that ice cream contains nowadays, flavoring encompasses such a broad spectrum that you really need to read a label carefully. Nothing that says cherry flavoring, strawberry flavoring and the likes is anything close to real fruits most of the times.
Ice cream producers can use the term 'flavoring' to hide a vast array of worrying ingredients and artificial flavors is unfortunately one of the key ingredients widely used in ice cream today.