Something’s Fishy About that Low-Fat Ice Cream


Processed food

It has nowhere to hide. Food labeling lets it all hang out. We are educated consumers– sodium, trans fats, corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavorings and colorings– nothing escapes our purview.

Or so it seems.

Food Secrets: maybe we don’t want to know.

We used to know it was low fat ice cream the moment the spoon reached our mouths. Low fat ice cream was thin and grainy, a little icy with none of the voluptuous mouth-feel of its full fat relatives. Now we have Breyer’s and Edy’s Double-Churned products (soon to be renamed Smooth & Dreamy) that are as rich and creamy as butter yet as virtuous as broccoli.

Newsflash— a little extra churning doesn’t get you there.

The fat in ice cream provides the smooth textural structure to ice cream. Without it, large ice crystals form and you end up with a thinner, coarser-grained product. Lots of fat and you get the lush denseness of the so-called super premiums like Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s; skimp on the fat and you’re talking mass market and store brand ice cream.

This was the challenge facing the ice cream makers– to reduce fat without altering consistency. As industry scientists pondered this, it led them to wonder why fish, with their lean body mass, don’t freeze in even the coldest of waters. A little tinkering in their laboratories and they had cracked the code.

That’s the story of how we ended up with fish anti-freeze in our rocky road.

Breyer’s Double-Churned products contain a protein cloned from the blood the ocean pout, an eel-like Arctic Ocean fish. Transparency in U.S. product labeling does not compel the company to divulge this on their list of ingredients, although it appears on containers in European markets.

Are you a vegan? Trying to avoid genetically-modified foods? Disgusted by the very thought of this? I’m guessing this covers most of us.

I think I’ll pass on that scoop of double-churned vaneela!

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13 Responses to Something’s Fishy About that Low-Fat Ice Cream

  1. Janice says:

    Very true. Of course the same additive is used in frozen soy products. And anyway, vegan, ovo-lacto vegetarian, omnivore– it’s nasty for all of us.

  2. mish says:

    Since when is ice cream “vegan” to begin with? It’s made from milk….

  3. I do know this is actually boring and you might be skipping to the subsequent remark, but I simply wanted to throw you an enormous thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  4. Pingback: Here's the Scoop: Home Ice Cream Makers | Gigabiting

  5. ++MIRA++ says:

    hmmm…bugs in red food coloring,eels in icecream, whats next, a dinosaur in my coffee?

  6. Janice says:

    Yes Jon, they do use yeast as the medium to grow the culture, but it is cloned from the ocean prout, as I stated. And I referred to the pout as an eel-like fish, which it is, and it is also commonly known as a conger eel.
    Thank you for reading my blog. Please know that I do check my facts before publishing. see below…

    from wikipedia:
    In June 2006 the Unilever company announced that it would use genetically modified yeast to grow antifreeze proteins based on a gene from the ocean pout, and use it to improve the consistency and storage properties of its ice cream brands.

    from the Encyclopedia of Zoology:
    Ocean pout (Macrozoarces americanus), also known as conger eels, are bottom-dwelling, inshore fish with long, narrow bodies.

  7. Jon Hopkinson says:

    Just to let you know it is not fish blood in your rocky road it is simply the protein, The protein comes from yeast not fish. The DNA is spliced into the yeast from the fish. Double churning is simply running the ice cream through the freezer twice this makes small ice particles that make the ice cream taste richer and smoother. Oh yah the fish is not eal like either. Remember that many “NATURAL” things are quite poisonus (poison ivy) and can cause guite a bit more sickness than something evil like locust been gum and the like Get your facts correct before going out and scare mongering to advance the “Natural” products market. Please think a bit before blogging.

  8. Janice says:

    Vegans are out of luck. One more reason to embrace animal products.

  9. Zibi says:

    I’d choose the natural fatty ice cream over the mystery stuff any day…guilt free 🙂 Can vegans eat ice cream?

  10. Janice says:

    As you sweat away on the treadmill, remind yourself that you are striking a blow for natural foods.

  11. Marilyn says:

    Oh well, more working out now a must!

  12. Janice says:

    But now that you know, can you eat the ice cream without thinking about it? Bear in mind that I spared you a photo of the big, slimy eel.

  13. Adam says:

    Dick move not telling us what we’re eating. Bet you can’t even taste the fish though 😀

    Quit being a pussy over something unnoticeable and that won’t affect you. I’ll bet I piss off enough people to get my food spat in and worse, but you sure can’t taste a damn thing.

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