It's not very often I get excited by ice cream as I don't have much of a sweet tooth – much preferring pizza or lasagne over chocolate or cake. So for me to get excited when I saw this No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream by PETERS in my local IGA it was a pretty big deal. But then something turned the excitement into disappointment…
Why so excited?
This ice cream is symbolic of a much larger movement amongst main stream food manufacturers – they're finally coming to the party and making options with less sugar, and as a result, less carbs!
This is a MASSIVE win for consumers. As much as you're not going to get healthy just eating ice cream, if you swap your normal full sugar ice cream for a reduced sugar one instead, you're reducing your over all sugar intake which is going to do wonders for your health.
So, as much as this is just one company making one product with less sugar, product by product, meal by meal, eventually we'll end up with a healthier Australia – and THAT is what makes me so damn excited.
So first up, how does No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream taste?
Not bad. There's not the full on creamy-ness (which I love) of a full-fat ice cream of course but for a low fat (more on that below) ice cream it's pretty nice.
As you can see in the picture above. The texture is very similar to a normal ice cream having a nice smooth mouth feel without being slimy or gritty which some low fat or low sugar ice cream products have.
No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream is still quite sweet, but not over the top like some regular ice cream or even some other low sugar ice creams. This one has a mild vanilla flavour which I personally think could be much stronger which means you'd need even less sweetener as vanilla has a sweetening effect. It would be delicious with a splash of the Blueberry Maple I reviewed last week!
I've also tried their Salted Caramel which in all honesty was a bit disappointing. Like this one the texture was ok but it only had about 20% of the taste compared to a proper premium, full fat, salted caramel ice cream.
So, why the disappointment? Let's take a look at what's in this No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream…
The ingredients for the Creamy Vanilla are as follows but the salted caramel flavour is very similar:
Skim Milk Concentrate, Water, Sorbitol, Polydextrose, Cream, Vegetable Origin Emulsifiers <477, 471 (Soy)>, Vegetable Gum (412), Mineral Salt (341), Flavour, Colour (160b), Sweeteners (955, 950).
So there's a few things going on here. I'm not a food scientist but I'll try and break it down as best I can for you.
This acts as both a sweetener, and has functional properties in food manufacturing. Sorbitol does have a high caloric value compared to other sugar alcohols but still less than sugar itself. Sorbitol can have a laxative effect as the label states if it's consumed in too high a quantity and even in small quantities can make people with sensitive stomachs feel a bit off.
This is most likely included as a texturiser as well as a sweetener. It's actually considered a fibre as it helps to give the product the right texture and mouth feel. It's not what you'd call a natural sweetener but it is safe to eat.
Vegetable Origin Emulsifiers <477, 471 (Soy)>
Emulsifiers help keep the water and oil components of foods from separating. Soy and derivatives is a common one to see included but there are many different types of emulsifiers.
Vegetable Gum (412)
Commonly referred to as "guar gum" it provides both a texturising effect as well as acting as a stabiliser. You can read more about guar gum and other food additives on Catherine Saxelby's blog post here
A food colouring which can aggravate certain food intolerances in some people.
Sweeteners (955, 950)
Sucralose and Acesulphame potassium respectively. Sucralose is an incredibly sweet artificial sweetener, coming in 650 times as sweet as sugar. I'd actually never heard of Acesulphame potassium before so I had to look it up. Acesulphame potassium (950) is also an artificial sweetener which is used a lot in the beverage industry. It's been deemed as safe by FSANZ but I still feel that it's best to avoid any artificial sweeteners if you can.
This is partly because of the potential health effects in some people but for me, more importantly, training your taste buds to respond so sweetened foods is just setting yourself up to crave them. When you stop eating sugar or sweet foods your taste buds adapt and "healthy" foods like vegetables nuts and seeds start to change flavour for you and taste sweet.
This might be a strange analogy but think of like stupidly loud music at the pub, your ears adjust to the loud music but it drowns out all the other noise and means you can no longer hear your friend or partner talking to you. Turn off the loud music and your ears tune into your friends voice and then suddenly you can even ear the noise of the wind in the trees. It's the same with sugar, blast your taste buds with sugar and you'll end up missing out on the truely sweeter things in life!
So rambling aside, what do I think of the ingredients in this No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream…
Pretty disappointing if I'm honest. I was excited at first but after seeing all the things in it, I've lost a lot of love for it. It's not to say that it's terrible for you but it's a real missed opportunity by Peters here to release something that is sugar free, and natural and actually good for you.
Nutritionally speaking though, how does this No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream compare?
Per 100g (2 serves – LOL) of No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream contains:
✅ Energy: 510 kJ (121 Cal)
✅ Protein: 4.8g
✅ Fat: 2.7g
✅ Carbs (total): 8.7g
✅ – Sugars: 8.5g
✅ Dietary Fibre: 6.3g
✅ – Polydextrose: 6.3g
✅ Sorbitol: 10.3g
Compare that to 100g (~2 serves) of their Original Vanilla Ice Cream:
• Energy: 750 kJ (179 Cal)
• Protein: 1.8g
• Fat: 6.4g
• Carbs (total): 28.0g
– Sugars: 21.7g
• Dietary Fibre: Unknown
– Polydextrose: 0g
• Sorbitol: 0g
Did No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream deliver on it's promise?
Well, technically yes. But that's a massive over simplification. It is an ice cream that has no added sugar as the packet states…
Would I buy it again… Definitely not.
The ingredients make it a no-go for me. As much as I don't like eating sugar and I always make sure to keep my carb levels really low, if I'm going to have ice cream I'd prefer to have a small amount of a full fat beautifully delicious premium ice cream and just have it very rarely. Ice cream (fat reduced, sugar reduced or regular, shouldn't be part of your daily food intake anyway in my opinion).
Looking for a different topping for your Protein Pancakes?
Check out our list of the top 20 low carb fruits. Now there's something I can get behind!
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