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 traditional coconut or almond milk base and crafted its dairy-free ice cream with — you guessed it — avocado. You'll want to put this pint on your radar.
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Cado Ice Cream Nutrition and Benefits
Avocado is Cado's star ingredient, and it's chock-full of healthy fats. With its creamy, smooth texture, avocado 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.
A 1/2-cup serving of the Vanilla Bean flavor boasts:
- Calories: 170
- Total fat: 11 g
- Saturated fat: 1.5 g
- Total carbs: 18 g
- Sugar: 12 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
The Vanilla as well as the Cookies and Cream are made with a few simple ingredients such as water, avocado oil, sea salt and organic cane sugar — but don't include the actual avocado fruit.
All of the other flavors list avocado puree as the first ingredient. These flavors include:
- Java Chip
- Cherry Amaretto Chip
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Deep Dark Chocolate
- Chocolate Mud Pie
- Choco Peanut Butter
- Salted Caramel
- Simply Lemon
It Contains Healthy Fats
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, per a May 2016 review in Lipids.
Just like avocado, avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, says Moe Schlachter, RDN, certified diabetes educator (CDE) and president of Houston Family Nutrition.
"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," Schlachter says. "I'm excited to see avocado show up anywhere — especially dessert!"
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 people with limited freezer aisle options, Schlachter says.
It Might Contain Antioxidants
According to a September 2016 review in The Benefits of Natural Products for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the phytochemicals in avocado can promote brain health and mental function.
These antioxidants protect your brain from oxidative stress and are linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Cado vs. So Delicious Ice Cream
So how does Cado compare to other vegan ice creams? So Delicious Coconutmilk Vanilla Bean, for example, is made with coconut milk. The standard serving size for So Delicious Vanilla is 2/3 cup, so we crunched some numbers to get the nutrition for a 1/2 cup, to keep both ice creams' serving sizes consistent.
Here's how a 1/2 cup serving of each compares:
Per 1/2 cup
So Delicious Vanilla
Compared to Cado, So Delicious is lower in fat, sugar and calories and higher in protein and fiber. That's because it gets its added fiber from chicory root extract and it's 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 Cado — can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, especially when consumed in a mindful and intentional way."
"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's 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."
So, Should You Buy a Pint of Cado?
All in all, Cado Avocado Ice Cream can have a place in a balanced diet. It's vegan, lactose-free and not too high in calories, so it fits into many types of eating plans.
It's also low in saturated fat — so 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.
However, Cado doesn't contain any protein, the macro that keeps you satiated. Just like with any other dessert, enjoying it in moderation is the key.
Buy Cado Avocado Ice Cream
Target ($5.29 per pint); Amazon and Whole Foods ($7.39); Instacart ($7.89)
How to Make Avocado Ice Cream at Home
While you can order a pint of Cado Avocado Ice Cream, you can also make your own version at home. Try this delicious Vegan Avocado Ice Cream recipe — or skip the sugar and use stevia with this basic recipe:
Yields: 6 Servings
Things You'll Need
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
- Cut the avocados in half and remove the skin and pits.
- Blend the avocado 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"