A Surprise Contender For
National Ice Cream Month:
Lactaid Ice Cream
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July is National Ice Cream Month. Each year we present a new and different artisan brand (see prior years’ reviews).
But this year’s nominee is not a superpremium artisan brand. It’s a familiar name—at least, in the pharmacy department. It’s Lactaid ice cream—part of a line of dairy products developed for people with lactose intolerance. But it can be—and should be—enjoyed by everyone.
Lactaid Ice Cream is one of the tastiest supermarket ice cream brands we’ve had. It has two compelling features in addition to the flavor: lower price and fewer calories.
Lactaid is half the price of Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and other premium brands. One quart is the same price as two pints of these brands and others in the ice cream case.
Lactaid Ice Cream is made five flavors:
- Butter Pecan
- Cookies & Cream
- Strawberries & Cream
You can find nutritional details on Lactaid.com.
Regrettably, our supermarket carries only Chocolate and Vanilla. But we can’t complain since both are scrumptious, with a depth of quality chocolate and vanilla flavors.
While the ice cream is dense and creamy, it has only 160 calories per half cup. Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream is 260 calories for the same amount; vanilla is 270 and butter pecan is 310.
The caloric difference is largely in fat: there are no egg yolks and less cream. The lower percentage of cream allows the vanilla and chocolate flavors to shine through—more like gelato than ice cream.
Our request to McNeil Nutritionals, owner of the Lactaid brand, to tell us who produces the ice cream for them, went unheeded. But McNeil—a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that also produces Splenda—should be commended for creating such an excellent product. People who need lactose-free products would have settled for far less.
What Is Lactose Intolerance?
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, some 30 million to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. They have difficulty digesting milk, cheese, yogurt and other products made from milk.
Lactose is a sugar found naturally in milk and products made with milk. In order to digest lactose, the small intestine produces an enzyme called lactase. Some people are born with insufficient lactase production, or produce less of it after they are weaned or as reach middle age. Without sufficient lactase, they can no longer digest milk products without discomfort. Read more about the symptoms here.
Some manufacturers make lactose-free products by removing the lactose from the milk; others add the enzyme lactase (available in tablet form as Lactaid) to help with digestion.
Lactose-free milk has the same properties as regular cow’s milk. The only difference is that it is enhanced with the lactase enzyme, or has had the lactose removed. This has only beneficial effects, whether or not one has lactose sensitivity.
Great taste, fewer calories, lower cost: Pick up a quart or two and celebrate National Ice Cream Month.
— Karen Hochman