Is It Healthy? Skinny Cow Ice Cream.

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 Tori from Fitori blog asked me a few weeks back to review the health value of Skinny Cow Ice Cream. I realize they are a very popular brand and I know I’ve sampled them a time or two, vaguely remembering that I did enjoy the taste. But regardless of whether they taste okay, is it healthy? Time to take a closer look at TWO KEY FACTORS!!

1. NUTRITION FACTS. Although somewhat high in sugar, the Skinny Cow brand of ice cream products is not unreasonable in the nutrition facts area. People who need a treat every now and then feel comfort in the fact that these pre-packaged bars have approximately 150 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving. In this area alone, Skinny Cow meets my seal of approval for a satisfying treat. Below are the nutrition facts for several ice cream varieties.

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  • Cone: Chocolate with Fudge. (per bar) 150 calories, 3 g fat (2 g sat.), 29 g carbohydrate, 17 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein.
  • Cups: Chocolate Fudge Brownie. (per container) 150 calories, 2 g fat (1 g sat.), 29 g carbohydrate, 17 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein.
  • Sandwiches: Chocolate Peanut Butter. (per sandwich) 150 calories, 2 g fat (1 g sat), 3 g fiber, 30 g carbohydrate, 15 g sugar, 4 g protein.

2. INGREDIENTS. Although we looked at the nutritional info and found it to be fairly reasonable, now it is time to check out the ingredients (I usually do this first, FYI).  Below I’ve listed the ingredients of the Chocolate fudge ice cream cone (most of the other products have a similar list). I’ve highlight several questionable ingredients. Do you know what they are? If not, should you be eating them?

skim milk, cone [wheat flour, sugar, palm oil, soy lecithin, caramel color, salt], sugar, corn syrup, cone coating [sugar, coconut oil, salatrim, cocoa powder, soy lecithin, artificial flavor], fudge topping [high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, cocoa processed with alkali, sugar, modified corn starch, salt, mono and diglycerides, vanilla, natural flavor, artificial flavor], polydextrose, cocoa processed with alkali, whey protein, calcium carbonate, cream, Inulin (Dietary Fiber), natural flavor, Propylene Glycol Monostearate, microcrystalline cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, guar gum, monoglycerides, carob bean gum, sorbitol, vitamin A palmitate, carrageenan, salt

Opinion: As in every case, if Skinny Cow is a product you consume each and every day, I might tell you to pick a different poison. However, if you happen to be at a BBQ where your friend offers a chocolate fudge cone for 150 calories vs a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s for 350 calories, I would opt for the latter. In the end, it’s all relative to how frequently you consume any product with a long list of questionable ingredients. I won’t tell you NOT to eat Skinny Cow products, but I will tell you to limit your consumption because they are not your healthiest option for a treat.

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SIMILAR/HEALTHIER OPTIONS:

  • Homemade smoothie pops. Blend up your favorite smoothie combination and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze and enjoy!
  • Homemade fudgcicles. Make an avocado chocolate pudding, scoop in to popsicle molds. Freeze and enjoy!
  • Breyer’s Naturals Vanilla Ice Cream; evaporated whole milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, natural vanilla flavour and pure ground vanilla bean. Easy to read ingredient list! I like it!
  • Turtle Mountain’s Purely Decadent Soy Ice Cream. Dairy and lactose-free, certified organic, and they support sustainable agricultural practices.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts about the Skinny Cow brand? Have you tried them?

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32 comments to Is It Healthy? Skinny Cow Ice Cream.

  • Jeannie

    Propylene Glycol Monostearate is an ingredient listed on the Skinny Cow Vanilla ice cream sandwich. There are 33 ingredients listed on the label and not all, but most of them, are not healthy choices for us.
    Do you know where Propylene Glycol Monostearate is found?
    As a working fluid in hydraulic presses
    As a coolant in liquid cooling systems
    To regulate humidity in a cigar humidor
    As the killing and preserving agent in pitfall traps, usually used to capture ground beetles
    As an additive to pipe tobacco to prevent dehydration
    To treat livestock ketosis
    As the main ingredient in deodorant sticks
    As a solvent used in mixing photographic chemicals, such as film developers.
    As an ingredient in the production of paintballs.

    The College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State says this about propylene glycol monostearate: “Slightly more toxic than propylene glycol in animals, and in large doses produces central nervous system depression and kidney injury.”

    Do you really want to eat this poisonous, toxic stuff in your food just because a ton of sugars made it taste good? I know I don’t.

  • Kathy

    Why do “healthy” foods contain high fructose corn syrup?

  • Tina

    Got recommended them by my sister in law but the sundaes have given me severe diarrhea then I notice that the second ingredient is sorbitol! A laxative there is more sorbital in this “ice-cream” than milk!

  • I am trying to get away from fake, processed foods. I do like the Skinny Cow stuff but I prefer the other desserts that have less ingredients–and things I can pronounce!

  • Haven’t thought about Skinny Cows in a while they’re more of a diet product than a healthy product it seems. That ingredient list scared me. I like your alternatives better. Fooducate made a point in a product review that FDA uses the reasoning “people aren’t eating this all the time” in their decision not to ban certain products Europe bans. I think if we all decided that certain ingredients weren’t ok we could make a difference. Great post.

  • Love this post! I used to purchase Skinny Cow products frequently…then I began prioritizing ingredient labels over nutrition facts, and found options that were not only more “real,” but MUCH more satisfying! I think it’s far better to enjoy a small scoop of real ice cream (or coconut milk ice cream), than to eat something full of fillers that ultimately leaves you feeling unsatisfied.

    My favorite picks: Breyer’s vanilla (amazing! you can taste the real vanilla beans!), Haagen Dazs Five flavors (higher in fat and calories, but worth it!) and Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent coconut milk flavors. Mmm. :-)

  • I agree that they’re fine on occasion, but I would choose something else as a “treat.” Plus, homemade almost always tastes better!

  • Great post Erin. I really wish I could do more product reviews like this, but working at a grocery store really prevents me from doing so. Oh well, I’m glad you do them! I agree with all of your points. I think this is a great dessert every once in a while, and it’s definitely better than many desserts out there. But would I recommend it for an everyday treat, not necessarily. I love your “better recs.” I also like to recommend Greek yogurt with unsweetenend cocoa, and berries.

  • I used to eat lots of Skinny Cows but now I won’t touch them. I agree though when choosing between 2 evils…I am still not sire I would go for the Skinny Cow out of principle that I am so anti-Monsanto that I avoid all HFCS products…but maybe it the calories were EXTREMELY different and it was a once in a blue moon thing!

  • I used to buy these more often when I ate a lot more processed “diet” and low-fat foods. I think I bought a package of the ice cream sandwiches last summer, but usually if we buy ice cream treats, its vanilla ice cream to put on top of some kind of dessert. I guess moderation applies to pretty much everything!

  • I’ve never tried Skinny Cow, but I’ve definitely heard of it. I do agree that homemade pops are the way to go in this case!

  • The ingredient list and PRICE! Holy moly! Those babies are expensive! I much prefer homemade pops and smoothies! Or like you said, less of the real deal :)

  • I’ve tried these before about a year ago and honestly I was not impressed. Yes, they are low calorie and are fine in moderation but I’d rather have something with less ingredients even if it is more calories! I’ll take my coconut milk ice cream please :D

  • i defs wudnt eat them mainly becuz a) they dont ahve them in the UK and b) they are mostly dairy ahha buttttt i defs think on occasion they are fine.. the ingredients list aint too nice though!

  • Roz

    I’m not a fan of the skinny cow products I’ve tried. They were “just ok”…and not worth the weight watchers points. I know some folks LOVE them though.
    Have a great day Erin.

  • GREAT POST!!! I totally agree with you..as always, it seems! :) I used to eat these all the time when I was into “diet foods” but since I’ve switched to eating “real foods” I just get disgusted when I read all the ingredients! Yuck! Thanks for posting! :)

  • I used to eat those more often. They’re pretty good, but they don’t fit into my shopping list now due to the ingredients. I totally agree with your point on this one. Thanks for the info!

  • I would rather enjoy a bowl of the good stuff if I’m going to have a treat. That ingredient list is scary long!
    I have to try the Breyer’s natural ice cream. I bet its amazing!

  • I love skinny cow and I agree with you on the assessment. Obviously there are healthier snack options but I love them as a light dessert option.

  • I love Skinny Cow treats! The sandwiches by far are my favorite, great treat for 100 calories. But definitely not something I’d go eating everyday ;)

  • I heart the homemade schtuff! the less ingredients the better! <3 thanks for the ingredient breakdown of these babies! I never bought them before!

  • The way I see it is that I would rather have full fat ice cream once and a while and really enjoy it then have one of these and only sort of like it.

  • I agree with not calling these healthy. I try my best to stay away from anything with high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that I have no idea what they are.

    I used to eat skinny cow ice creams a couple years ago while I was “dieting.” Yes, they’re lower in calories & fat, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend these. The less processed the better!

  • Gen

    I’ve never tried skinny cow stuff….if I’m having ice cream I prefer the real deal! :D

  • I haven’t had skinny cow in ages. Now, for my frozen chocolate needs, I go to banana soft serve with high-quality cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger) added near the end of the production process OR a thick raspberry-almond milk blend with cocoa powder. Yum.

  • I have eaten the skinny cow ice cream sandwiches a few times but I didn’t really love them. They taste too fake to me.

  • I like skinny cow as a treat now and then, definitely not all the time though. So I’m glad they meet your approval! :)

  • Ooh I’m so glad you chose this product! I don’t eat ice cream very often, but I’ve had one of the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches and thought it was pretty good. Like you said though, a lot of the ingredients aren’t recognizable so I’d rather just make my own frozen treats!

  • I love skinny cow and buy a package of it every couple of months—so, yes, i enjoy it…but definitely not too often as you suggest.

  • Love your blog :) ive tried their caramel shortcake ice creams before and i quite liked them, obviously they are low in calorie and good for a treat now and then but the long ingredients list is a bit off putting. Im not too fussed about things such as soy lechitin as thats quite common in lots of products but some of the other stuff..not so sure about.

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