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Is Italian Gelato Healthy?

Italian gelato is a traditional Italian treat that is served in a semi-frozen state. Similar to soft ice cream, gelato is made from a variety of ingredients, with flavors ranging from the common, like chocolate and vanilla, to the more exotic, like tiramisu and ginger. Whether you’re vacationing in Venice and looking for a sweet treat or you’re having a serving of gelato stateside, gelato makes a better once-in-a-while treat than a daily indulgence.

Types

The basic nutritional information for Italian gelato depends on the type of gelato you choose. Milk-based gelatos are a common choice and typically have more calories than soy-based gelato, which is served at many gelato shops. Milk-based gelato has a creamier texture that is akin to regular ice cream, while soy gelato will be more like a lighter, airier sorbet. Yogurt gelato, while not as popular, is like frozen yogurt, with a creamy texture and fruity flavor.

Caloric Content

The caloric content of a serving of Italian gelato depends on the type and flavor of gelato you choose. Identifying an exact calorie count per serving is difficult since many brands of gelato are made in-house, according to a store’s own recipe. In general, milk-based gelato has the most calories per serving, at around 240 calories for a half-cup serving of chocolate gelato. A sorbet-like gelato is only 90 to 100 calories per half-cup serving.

Healthy Alternatives

Italian gelato should be enjoyed as an occasional treat and is in no way a health food. If you’re craving a sweet frozen treat on a daily basis, Italian ices, with around 50 calories per serving, are a better bet. When choosing gelato, choose low-fat versions over cream-based flavors to help save calories without skimping on the flavor or experience of an authentic Italian gelato.

By Kay Ireland (livestrong.com)

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