I Scream

Is Healthy Ice Cream Too Good to Be True?

Arctic Zero is no Ben & Jerry's, that's for sure.

By Hala Daher July 6, 2016

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I'm willing to bet the banana pudding doesn't taste much like bananas or pudding either.

Lately I've been counting my macros and calories diligently in an effort to put on muscle and burn some fat. This means I've become the kind of person that will replace  delicious stuff with healthy stuff. Some changes work - cauliflower rice isn't so bad and neither is spaghetti squash. Recently I was craving some ice cream in this horrible heat but didn't have the fat and carbs to spare on a serving of Ben and Jerry's, so I started looking into alternatives.

A friend told me about a whole slew of macro-friendly ice cream treats that now exist in this health-obsessed world. Halo Top is very pretty popular in the fitness community and my trainer says Oppo in the U.K. is really good. Unfortunately I couldn't find either at my grocery store—but I did find some Arctic Zero.  Arctic Zero contains whey protein (the powdered stuff bodybuilders use), "natural" stabilizers and is sweetened with monk fruit concentrate and cane sugar.  One half-cup serving was only 35 calories and a full pint only 150 calories. It was low on sugar and fat but high on fiber and protein. This seemed too good to be true.

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"Cookie Shake"

So I went to my local Kroger (it's also carried at nearly every grocery store in the Houston area, including Walmart, Sprouts and Whole Foods) and picked up a pint of the Purely Chocolate and Cookie Shake flavors. I was excited to try the stuff. I got home, scooped half a cup from each flavor (70 calories!) and dug right in.

The taste was....wanting. It's not that it tasted bad. It just didn't taste good. And the texture was totally wrong. You can't call yourself "ice cream" if you're not actually creamy. It was sort of like flavored ice, but not the good kind you get at Mam's. Somehow the Purely Chocolate didn't taste like chocolate, and I don't know what the Cookie Shake tasted like. Not cookies. It was unnerving. I wanted to throw out the whole bowl after just a couple of bites. Eventually, I got a weird stomachache and stopped eating it. This was a horrible idea. My brother, ever the economical sibling, exclaimed, "This is a waste of money. You basically spent $8 on 12 grams of protein." I guess there wasn't enough protein to satisfy his macros.

We decided to not eat the rest but managed to salvage it as add-ins for protein shakes. I blended a cup of Purely Chocolate with a banana, some whole milk and whey powder and it wasn't half bad in this iteration.  Then again, I did add some fat and more sugar to make the taste palatable. Next time, I'll go without or save some macros and calories and treat myself to the real thing. 

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