I recently found myself elbow-deep in a gas station’s reach-in ice cream freezer.
Buried beneath the high-fat, high-sugar off-brand offerings, I unearthed a seemingly healthier product: a Skinny Cow Vanilla low fat ice cream sandwich.
Now what makes this product healthier than other ice cream sandwiches? Well, here’s the run-down of a Skinny Cow…and of course we’ll start with fiber.
Most skinny cow products have at least 3 grams of dietary fiber. What in the world is fiber doing in ice cream, you ask?
Well, real ice cream has no fiber because it’s made of fat and sugar, 2 bastions of the fiber-free ingredient world.
But Skinny Cow has wised up to consumers’ interest in fiber. So they shove in functional fibers like inulin, cellulose, and gums.
These fibers have not been shown to yield the same health benefits as naturally occurring fiber, like the type you find in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
There are certainly lower-calorie, tastier ways to get 3 grams of fiber. They’re called apples.
The Skinny Cow vanilla ice cream sandwich I tried had 150 calories. Compare that to a Klondike classic vanilla ice cream sandwich (which I also bought in case the Skinny Cow let me down) with 180 calories, so it’s not that big of a difference.
Your typical 1/2 cup serving of ice cream is going to set you back about 150 calories (250 calories if you’re going premium), so you’re not saving much on the calorie front with this guy.
Now any processed ice cream product is going to run long on the ingredient list. And the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich is no different.
It consists of skim milk, white flour, sugar, caramel color followed by some more sugars, sugar, corn syrup, and then a bunch of preservatives and fake fibers. And it sure tastes like it.
The Skinny Cow vanilla ice cream sandwich doesn’t really taste like an ice cream sandwich. The wafer is thin and disintegrates before you have a chance to chew.
But thankfully, before you notice the paper-thin wafer has disappeared, you’re hit with the cloying sweetness that is 14 grams of added sugar.
Furthermore, because it only has 2 grams of fat, you simultaneously miss out on that luscious mouthfeel you would expect from fat in ice cream…but then again, that’s what you get for buying an ice cream boasting about its skinniness.
All in all I’d say pass on the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. There are more satisfying ways to eat 150 calories of ice cream. And certainly smarter ways to get 3 grams of fiber.