July 17, 2012

Chocolate Sundae

Delicious Lactaid ice cream can be enjoyed by everyone. Photo by Miao99 | IST.

WHAT IT IS: Lactose-free ice cream.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: It’s premium ice cream that can be enjoyed by people with lactose intolerance—and everyone else.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Great taste, fewer calories and much less expensive than other premium brands.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Retailers nationwide.



We’ve only had two of the five flavors—chocolate and vanilla—but they’re excellent. We can’t wait to track down the others.


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.

Great Price

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
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Strawberries & Cream
  • Vanilla

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.

Fewer Calories

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

Get Cooking!

Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones   Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams   Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home

Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones: 90 Recipes for Making Your Own Ice Cream and Frozen Treats from Bi-Rite Creamery, by Kris Hoogerhyde et al. Recipes from one of the greatest ice creameries in the country. More information.


Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams from the Nation's Best Creameries, by Ellen Brown. Signature recipes from more than two dozen of the nation’s best artisan dairies. If you can’t travel to visit them in person, start churning! More information.


Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home, by Jeni Britton Bauer. The great ice cream maker shares the recipes from her Columbus, Ohio creamery. A must-try: Goat Cheese and Roasted Cherries. But we love them all! More information.



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