How your 'diet' ice cream could have up to 68per cent more calories than you think: The skinny on frozen dessert label lies
18:26 GMT, 20 August 2012
Diet desserts have long been the weight-conscious woman's way to, quite literally, have her cake and eat it.
But a new report has revealed that so-called low-calorie ice creams and frozen yoghurts can contain as much as 68per cent more calories than the label claims.
The Today show found that a sample of Arctic Zero's Chocolate Peanut Butter flavour, which claims to have no more than 150 calories per pint, in fact contained closer to 250.
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Not-so-low-calorie: A new report on the Today show this morning claims that diet frozen desserts can contain as much as 68per cent more calories than the label claims
Another flavour from the same brand, Vanilla Maple, fared little better with 46 per cent more calories than the label claimed.
The show used a top food laboratory that employs industry-approved methods to test samples of nine different lower-calorie
desserts, from an array of brands including Stonyfield, Skinny Cow, Ben
& Jerry's and Weight Watchers.
Misleading: A sample of Arctic Zero's Chocolate Peanut Butter flavour (left), which claims to have no more than 150 calories per pint, in fact contained closer to 250. The Vanilla Maple flavour had 46 per cent more calories
Though several others also had higher
calorie counts than their labels claimed, the rest of the desserts
tested were found to be in accordance with an FDA rule that allows a
20per cent discrepancy between the label and the actual calorie content.
A sample of Weight Watchers'
Ice Cream Candy
Bar just scraped the limit with 16per cent more calories than its label,
while the same brand's Giant Chocolate Fudge Sundae Cone had 13per cent
Today nutritionist Joy Bauer believes that the difference between the label and the content should be no more than ten per cent.
Borderline: A sample of Weight Watchers' Ice Cream Candy Bar (left) just scraped the FDA limit with 16per cent more calories than its label; the Giant Chocolate Fudge Sundae Cone had 13per cent more calories
Lower calorie: The news wasn't all bad, though. Skinny Cow's Cookies n' Cream Truffle Bar was three per cent less than the label calorie count and Ben & Jerry's Fro-Yo Half-Baked came in at five per cent under
She told the show: 'It's right there, front and center (on the package). Buy me and you'll lose weight…
'They know they can get away with it,
because the FDA allows up to 20per cent wiggle room, so you know they
push the envelope a little bit. There's
variation. It's upsetting, but it's legal.'
HOW DIET DESSERT LABEL CALORIE COUNTS MEASURE UP
Today used industry-approved methods to test samples of nine lower-calorie desserts. The table below reveals how each sample measures up against the claim on the label.
PRODUCTCALORIE COUNT ACCORDING TO LABEL
CALORIE DIFFERENCE FROM LABEL ACCORDING TO TODAY'S TEST
Arctic Zero Chocolate Peanut Butter
150 calories per pint68per cent moreArctic Zero Vanilla Maple
150 calories per pint46per cent moreBen & Jerry Fro-Yo Chocolate Fudge Brownie180 calories per 1/2 cup (99g) servingEight per cent moreBen & Jerry Fro-Yo Half-Baked
180 calories per 1/2 cup (99g) servingFive per cent lessSkinny Cow Cookies n' Cream Truffle Bar100 calories per barThree per cent lessStonyfield Creme Caramel Frozen Yogurt130 calories per 1/2 cup (85g) servingTen per cent moreStonyfield Minty Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt140 calories per 1/2 cup (85g) servingFour per cent lessWeight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge Sundae cone140 calories per cone13per cent moreWeight Watchers Ice Cream Candy Bar150 calories per bar16per cent more
Ms Bauer was particularly horrified by Arctic Zero's claims, though.
'Shame on this company,' she
said. 'People, they are eating the whole pint in one sitting. You eat
that every single day… at the end of the week you have to walk
an extra nine miles just to burn off those calories.'
The news wasn't all bad for sweet-toothed calorie-counters however. Three products were found to contain fewer calories than the label suggested.
Jerry's Fro-Yo Half-Baked came in at five per cent under the label count, while Skinny Cow's Cookies n' Cream Truffle
Bar was three per cent less and Stonyfield Minty Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt had four per cent fewer calories.
The values for food product labels are based on the average from a test of around 12 product samples, according to the FDA.
These tests are conducted or commissioned by the food manufacturer, and not the FDA, which does not have the resources to check each company's claims. As a result, the show points out, it is difficult to establish how widespread the problem is.
Each of the brands mentioned issued a statement to Today, defending the claims.
Arctic Zero told the show that its calorie counts are accurate. The company was asked by researchers to provide its test results, however the documents remain to be seen.
Wells Enterprises, which manufactures Weight Watchers' frozen desserts said: that it 'takes the integrity of our products and their nutritional labeling very seriously.
'All of the Weight Watchers Frozen Novelty products are subjected to rigorous nutritional testing program by an accredited third party laboratory.'
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