As consumers, we’re supposed to be able to trust nutrition labels, especially when on a calorie-restricted diet. There should be no doubt whatsoever that the nutritional content is accurate, right? Eek, not so fast. At least when it comes to low-calorie desserts.
MSNBC’s Rossen Report recently put 9 different major diet ice cream brands — including Ben & Jerry’s, Weight Watchers, Skinny Cow, and Arctic Zero – through a blind laboratory test to measure the actual caloric content per serving.1
What they found was rather, ahem, startling. Three of the products actually had FEWER calories than the labeled claim; the Skinny Cow Cookie & Cream Truffle came in 3% lower; the Stonyfield Farms Minty Chocolate Chip was 4% lower; and the Ben & Jerry’s Froyo Half Baked was 5% lower than advertised. And then it went downhill.
Ben & Jerry’s Froyo Chocolate Fudge Brownie — 8% more, or 57 more calories per pint
Stonyfield Farms Créme Caramel — 10% more, or 52 more calories per pint
Weight Watchers Giant Fudge Sundae Cone – 13% more, or 18 more calories per cone
Weight Watchers Ice Cream Candy Bar– 16% more, or 22 more calories per bar
Arctic ZeroVanilla Maple – 46% more, or 69 more calories per pint
Arctic Zero Chocolate Peanut Butter – 68%, or 100 more calories per pint
I don’t have a magic lab of my own to test the TRUE calorie content and I honestly don’t know what to take as gospel in this case. What I do know is this – DON’T FREAK OUT.
The lofty percentage numbers make the implications for Arctic Zero overblown. Realistically we’re talking about a discrepancy of 50-100 calories for an ENTIRE PINT. You shouldn’t be eating an entire pint in one sitting anyway. Case-in-point. I still feel comfortable recommending Arctic Zero as an extremely healthy, low-calorie, high protein, low sugar dessert — it’s just not as untouchable as once touted.
Quite frankly, my biggest concern here lies with the FDA. The FDA legally allows manufacturers to underestimate advertised calorie counts by as much as 20 percent to “account for variation in portions”. TWENTY PERCENT. In an era when dieters meticulously gauge calories down to the single digit, this can derail even the most “precise” nutrition journal.
Lean It UP is a web community that touches all ends of the fitness spectrum. We regularly publish workout plans, nutritional analysis, product reviews, supplement advice, recipes, and other related content that can help inform and educate on the most effective, practical ways to improve fitness levels, aesthetics, and overall health. We want to help YOU build your own perfect body -- hop on for the ride.