Enjoy Ice Cream Again
February 2018 – Chances are, if you are following the low FODMAP diet and/or have IBS that lactose is an issue for you. More and more established companies are paying attention and Breyers has come out with both a Chocolate and a Vanilla Lactose Free Ice Cream. Check out the vanilla in our Ice Cream Sandwiches.
This is the manufacturer’s statement on the products:
Now you CAN enjoy a Breyers® moment, even if you’re “not supposed to”. Breyers® has whipped up a Lactose Free alternative* that has all the delicious taste that made us famous…1/2 the fat and 1/3 fewer calories than regular ice cream…Enjoy!
*99% Lactose Free
Can You Eat It?
Let’s take a look at the ingredients and talk about whether this 99% lactose-free ice cream can work with our low FODMAP diet.
First, the Ingredients:
Breyers Vanilla Lactose Free Ice Cream: Skim Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Cream, Whey, Less Than 2% Of: Vegetable Gums (Carob Bean, Guar, Tara), Mono And Diglycerides, Natural Flavor, Lactase Enzyme, Vitamin A Palmitate, Carrageenan
Breyers Chocolate Lactose Free Ice Cream: Skim Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Cream, Dutch Cocoa (processed with alkalai), Whey, Less Than 2% Of: Vegetable Gums (Carob Bean, Guar, Tara), Mono And Diglycerides, Salt, Lactase Enzyme, Vitamin A Palmitate, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan
A few items jump out. On the plus side, we know that when milk and/or cream are treated with lactase enzyme that they are rendered almost completely lactose free. The corn syrup is fine; it is not high fructose corn syrup, which is different. Gums have been shown to be okay for FODMAPers, and they are in very small amounts here, but we hadn’t heard of “Tara”.
According to Breyers, Tara is “a white or beige, nearly odorless powder made from Caesalpinia spinosa seeds. It used as a thickener and stabilizer for foods”.
While we are at it, their definition of Natural Flavor is “flavors from natural sources that add taste and aroma to food. Natural flavors are derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.”
So, while this product is made by a longstanding and well-known brand the label isn’t as clean as it could be. That said, if you are hankering for vanilla or chocolate ice cream why not try it in a small amount, maybe 2 to 4 tablespoons, and see how you do. It was fine for those of us who tried it, but what counts is how your body reacts.
You might also be interested in our article, What Does Lactose-Free Milk Taste Like?
What’s With the 99%? And What About the Lower Calories and Fat?
We called Breyers and asked why the ice cream was considered 99% lactose-free and not 100%. We know from speaking to other companies that make lactose-free milks that they consider their products to be 100% lactose-free. So what is it in this ice cream that the lactase enzyme apparently doesn’t completely affect?
Brand representatives stated that,
“Whey protein isolate” contains less than 1 percent lactose. Which is why we don’t make the claim on that product of being 100% lactose free. If you need a 100 % lactose free product, the products you are looking for have DAIRY FREE on the container.”
Please note that it took 2 calls and four emails for them to answer the question and it isn’t even well addressed. After this many queries we gave up, which frankly was disappointing. Breyers is owned by Unilver and we expected more from their customer service.
As far as the “1/2 the fat and 1/3 fewer calories than regular ice cream” this is due to the formulation, which has more milk, less cream and gums that provide body so the formula doesn’t rely on cream, which is high in fat.
Our Take on Breyers Lactose Free Ice Cream
If you want chocolate or vanilla ice cream and want to try a lactose-free version, why not give these a try. As always, proceed with caution when adding a new foodstuff.
The texture was creamy, and the flavors were good, if not exceptional, but we did find the texture to be a bit too soft. This ice cream melts very quickly. Not a good choice for a cone.
Where to Buy: Currently available at select stores that carry the Breyers brand.
Price at Time of Review (2/2018): Price in our local stores for the 48-ounce containers averaged about $4.50 USD