After having great gelato at Gelateria dei Neri in Florence, I read up more about gelato because it was tasted great as a dessert, though I felt guilty after eating as it was so dense and sweet. I could not finish my €4 gelato cone despite its rich flavours and smooth texture. It then got me thinking – Is gelato healthier than ice-cream?
Difference between Gelato and Ice-cream
The main difference between gelato and ice-cream lies in the proportion of ingredients and the way they are made. Ice cream is made with heavy cream and typically has a higher fat content, while gelato is made with mostly milk, so it is usually lower in fat. During the production process, ice cream is churned at high speeds to let in air and pump up the volume, resulting in a lighter, fluffier texture. According to Food Republic, gelato is slow-churned, which causes it to be denser, milkier and slower to melt. As a result, gelato is served at a higher temperature than ice-cream.
So, is gelato healthier than ice-cream?
While the fat content of ice-cream is higher (ice-cream is typically more than 10%, while gelato is less than 10%), I would hesitate to say that gelato is healthier because the sugar content in gelato is much higher, for taste due to its high density. While having a gelato at Gelateria dei Neri in Florence, I ordered the dark chocolate version and the chocolate flavour was intense. It was also quite sweet.
While gelato appears healthier than ice-cream due to lower fat levels, Forbes raises a good point that one tends to feel fuller from gelato as compared to ice-cream, hence you tend to eat smaller amounts, resulting in a smaller calorie intake than ice-cream.
The Travelling Squid’s Take – Is gelato healthier than ice-cream?
There is no perfect answer to this question, as the sugar and fat levels of gelato and ice-cream vary from gelateria to ice-cream shop. Do not simply think gelato is healthier just because its fat content is lower than ice-cream. At this point, I must disagree with this Reviewed article which says that gelato is healthier. The answer is, it really depends. In general, gelato tends to have slightly less fat, but more sugar than ice-cream, hence a higher calorie amount. That said, the sugar and fat composition in gelato and ice-cream varies from gelateria to icre-cream shop. It also depends on the amount you have. So my view is just enjoy whichever you prefer, and with everything, eat in moderation. =)