What Are the Health Benefits of Slow-Churned Ice Cream?

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People who love ice cream might be on a constant quest to find something that tastes just as good without all the guilt. Though it will never be a health food, slow-churned ice cream might be a better option than traditional ice cream. Get all the facts, however, because the picture might not be as rosy as it appears at first glance.

Slow-Churned Ice Cream 101

Slow-churned ice cream is a reduced-fat treat that contains fewer calories than regular ice cream. It's made with low-temperature extrusion, a process that reduces the size of the fat globs in the ice cream, according to "The New York Times." This process also makes the ice cream creamier, which helps mimic the rich texture of traditional ice cream. This is appealing to many consumers who don't enjoy the altered taste and texture of reduced-fat or fat-free ice creams.

Slow-Churned Calories and Fat

A serving of Dreyer's slow-churned ice cream contains half the fat and one-third the calories of traditional ice cream. A one-half cup of Dreyer's slow-churned chocolate ice cream contains 100 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, of which 2 grams are saturated. A one-half cup of Dreyer's regular chocolate ice cream contains 140 calories and 7 grams of fat, of which 4 grams are saturated. Other Dreyer's slow-churned flavors, such as rocky road and butter pecan contain 120 calories and 4 grams of fat. If you're watching your weight, opting for slow-churned ice cream is a better alternative than traditional ice creams.

A Few More Benefits

A 1/2-cup serving of Dreyer's slow-churned ice cream supplies about 6 percent of the bone-building calcium you need each day. Dreyer's slow-churned ice cream also supplies about 4 percent of the vitamin A you need on a daily basis, as well as 3 grams of protein. Dreyer's slow-churned ice cream contains slightly less sugar per serving than traditional ice cream, too. For example, a one-half-cup serving of Dreyer's slow-churned strawberry ice cream contains 12 grams of sugar while the same amount of Dreyer's regular strawberry ice cream has 14 grams.

Genetic Modification

Some slow-churned and light ice creams are genetically modified to achieve the creamy texture that doesn't form unpleasant ice crystals like traditional ice cream does, according to H. Douglas Goff and Richard W. Hartel, authors of "Ice Cream." Certain brands of slow-churned ice cream might contain a protein that's been cloned from an Arctic fish called the pout, according to the ''New York Times.'' The concern is that the protein isn't extracted directly from the fish, but is man-made by changing the genetic structure of a certain kind of baker's yeast. While there's no proof that this is dangerous, there also isn't any proof that it's completely safe long-term, either.