Although ice creams provide varying amounts of essential nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A, they aren't exactly health foods. They typically contain large amounts of fat and sugar, which makes them energy-dense foods. Even the recommended 1/2-cup serving has more than 100 calories, and many people typically eat a lot more than that in one sitting.
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Soft Vs. Regular Ice Cream
Whether soft-serve or regular ice cream is lower in calories depends on the type of regular ice cream you choose. A 1/2-cup serving of either chocolate or French vanilla soft serve ice cream has about 191 calories. The same amount of regular chocolate ice cream has about 143 calories. Regular vanilla ice cream is slightly lower in calories, with 137 per 1/2-cup serving, but if you opt for a richer premium version, you'll be consuming 266 calories, with the extra calories coming mostly from fat. Opt for a no-sugar-added light version of vanilla ice cream to limit fat, sugar and calories, as each 1/2-cup serving only contains 115 calories.