Avocados and ice cream, two beloved foods, are the picture of summer. But have you ever tried combining the two? Ice cream brand Cado ditched the the traditional coconut or almond milk base and crafts its dairy-free ice cream with — you guessed it — avocado. You'll want to put this pint on your radar.
What's the Deal With Cado?
Avocado, Cado's primary ingredient, is chock-full of healthy fats. With its creamy, smooth texture, it can replace milk in ice cream recipes. Cado contains zero lactose or dairy and is lower in sugar than most traditional and dairy-free ice cream tubs. One half-cup serving of the Vanilla Bean flavor boasts:
- 170 calories
- 11 grams of fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat)
- 18 grams of carbs (12 grams of sugar)
- 0 grams of protein
Plus, you'll get around two to three servings of avocado in every pint, depending on the flavor.
The vanilla flavor is made with a few simple ingredients such as avocado oil, sea salt and organic cane sugar — but doesn't include the actual avocado fruit. All of the other flavors such as Java Chip, Cherry Amaretto Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, Deep Dark Chocolate and Simply Lemon list avocado puree as the first ingredient.
Just like avocado, avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, Moe Schlachter, RDN, certified diabetes educator (CDE) and president of Houston Family Nutrition, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
According to Schlachter, Cado is nutritionally balanced and can fit into a healthy diet. "Most [of the ice cream's] ingredients are sourced from organic growers, which is important to many consumers. Plus, eating Cado can be a great way to sneak some heart-healthy fat into a dessert menu," he tells us. "I am excited to see avocado show up anywhere, especially dessert!"
Why Choose Avocado Ice Cream?
Unlike milk and other dairy products, avocado is rich in heart-healthy fats, such as oleic acid and linoleic acid. It contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and small amounts of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and saturated fats. MUFAs may have beneficial effects on appetite, fat oxidation, weight maintenance and metabolic health, as reported in a May 2016 review in the journal Lipids.
One serving of avocado (about a third of a medium fruit or 1.7 ounces) provides 80 calories, 7.3 grams of healthy fats, and 3.4 grams of satiating fiber. This tropical fruit is also a solid source of potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins and carotenoids.
According to a September 2016 review published in The Benefits of Natural Products for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the phytochemicals in avocado promote brain health and mental function. These antioxidants protect your brain from oxidative stress and may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Considering these facts, it's fair to say that avocado ice cream can be a healthy treat.
Cado Vs. So Delicious Ice Cream
So how does Cado compare to other vegan ice cream brands? So Delicious Coconutmilk in Vanilla Bean, for example, is made with a coconut milk base. A half-cup serving contains:
- 100 calories
- 6.5 grams of fat (5.75 grams of saturated fat)
- 18 grams of carbs (1.25 grams of sugar, 7.25 grams of fiber)
- 1.25 grams of protein
Compared to Cado, So Delicious is lower in fat, sugar and calories and higher in protein and fiber. However, it gets its added fiber from chicory root extract and is sweetened with erythritol, a low-calorie sugar alcohol, to keep its sugar content low.
"In comparison to So Delicious, Cado has fewer ingredients overall," Maya Feller, RD of Maya Feller Nutrition, tells us. "Cado uses organic cane sugar and has the equivalent of three teaspoons of sugar per serving. I think desserts made from high-quality ingredients — like this Cado — can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, especially when consumed in a mindful and intentional way."
So, Should You Buy a Pint of Cado?
All in all, both Cado Avocado Ice Cream and So Delicious have their place in a balanced diet. They're vegan, lactose-free and low in calories. Just like with any other dessert, eating it in moderation is the key.
Since about 65 percent of the population has lactose intolerance, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, dairy-free ice cream like Cado can boost the quality of life for those among us with limited freezer aisle options, Schlachter says.
If you're looking to lower your cholesterol levels or have a history of heart disease in your family, it might be worth picking up a tub of Cado over So Delicious or another coconut-milk-based ice cream.
"Compared to dairy ice cream, So Delicious Coconutmilk Vanilla is higher in saturated fat," Schlachter says. "Excess saturated fat intake is associated with elevated cholesterol and the development of heart disease. There is research that suggests the saturated fat from coconuts is immune to these negative effects, but the evidence is not strong enough to make that determination."
How to Make Avocado Ice Cream at Home
While Cado Avocado Ice Cream is now available in most stores, including Wal-Mart, Whole Foods Market and Target, it's easy to make your own version at home. You can try this delicious recipe or skip the sugar and use stevia with this basic recipe:
Yields: 6 Servings
- 2 large avocados
- 1.5 can (14 oz) of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
- Liquid stevia to taste
- A pinch of sea salt
How to make it:
- Cut the avocados in half. Remove the skin and pits.
- Blend it along with the lemon juice in a food processor until smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend again.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and freeze until you achieve the desired consistency.
Depending on your preferences, you can add dark chocolate chips, vanilla bean pods or vanilla essence, grated orange peel, raw honey, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, mint leaves and other add-ins. Get creative with it!
- Lipids: "Current Evidence Supporting the Link Between Dietary Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Avocados"
- USDA: "Saturated, Unsaturated and Trans Fats"
- NIH.gov: "Lactose Intolerance Frequency"
- The Benefits of Natural Products for Neurodegenerative Diseases: "Avocado as a Major Dietary Source of Antioxidants and Its Preventive Role in Neurodegenerative Diseases"