Someone eating ice cream
Illustrative purposes Image Credit: Stock image

What you need to know:

  • Gulf News is going on an ice cream trail this Ramadan.
  • Our 28th pick of the month are healthier, low-sugar ice cream options.
  • Be prepared for our list of 29 ice creams for 29 days.
  • End your fast and enjoy the Summer months with these sweet and cold treats.

Ice creams are popular desserts that are not light on the calories, especially if you load them with toppings and syrups. However, if you’re looking for a guilt-free indulgence, we have a few healthy options you might like.

#28 Healthier indulgence


The concept of healthy ice cream has become popular in the past decade. Writer Lyda Mclallen wrote an article for US-based website and blog HuffPost, where she discusses if ‘healthy ice cream’ is healthy after all.

While sugar was added to ice cream in 1769, there was a point where manufacturers started adding more sugar to ice cream to improve the taste. This changed when people started educating themselves on healthy eating and staying fit. With an increase in obesity rates, diabetes and other diseases, manufacturers started adding sugar-free options to popular flavours. However, is this the best alternative?

As stated in the 2017 report: “Just because your ice cream has no added sugar doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain sugar. Instead, your sugar-free ice cream will contain artificial sweeteners.”

While fruits contain real, unprocessed sugar, artificial sweeteners do not. When people usually hear that a product is sugar free, they end up eating a larger serving of the same, thus defeating the purpose.

Indian newspaper Times of India reported: “[Healthy ice cream] is not always calorie free. One scoop of this ice cream has 25 per cent fewer calories than normal ice cream, which seems like a good amount. But when people eat food that is labelled as sugar-free, they end up eating more than what they do while they eat normal food.”

Vegan ice cream in Dubai
Vegan ice cream in Dubai, available at Coco Yogo Image Credit: Supplied

Residents respond:

Dubai resident Parul Mathur said: “I’ve had sugar-free ice cream before. I’ve not tried vegan ice cream. When we go to these ice cream parlours I usually opt for their sugar-free option.”

The 53-year-old former human resource professional added that finding such options could be difficult. “I’ve seen that healthy options are not easily available. I’ve bought certain sugar free ice creams from local supermarkets. We have opted for this alternative to keep healthy.”

Dr Nabila Daud, does not look for sugar-free ice cream options in the market because she thinks it’s “futile”.

The Dubai resident said: “Most places don’t carry sugar-free ice creams and the ones that do, are ridiculously priced. Some ice cream parlours have a limited variety of healthy options available, and those are the ones I opt for when needed.

“I’d much rather make sugar-free desserts at home than buy some store-bought variety to be honest. I opt for sugar-free varieties because it’s healthy, but I believe the regular varieties had in moderation are all right, too.”

However, British national Elaine Lacey was unaware of the availibility of sugar-free and vegan options for ice creams. The 60-year-old Dubai resident said: “I didn’t know they existed. I think I would have a sample and then decide if I wanted to opt for that. However, if there were two options side by side, one healthy and one regular, I would always go for the full-fat ice cream.”

While the homemaker joked that she didn’t realise she was being “unhealthy”, she said it was a good alternative.

Nouq ice cream is made from Camel's milk
Nouq ice cream is made from Camel's milk Image Credit: Supplied

“I think it is a good idea. I’ve just never looked for these products. I think if I had children I would definitely go the healthy way. Next time I go into the shop I am going to look for a healthy option. I don’t think it is advertised enough. I tend to have an ice cream a month, so I’m not sure if it bothers me so much.”

What does the UAE offer?

There are many brands in the UAE that offer organic, vegan, low-sugar and healthy ice creams. They are not as popular as regular ice cream, however they do exist and are available to residents.

A healthier option to try is ice cream from Nouq, which is made from camel’s milk. It is said that Camel’s milk has many health benefits. According to the company’s official website, the milk is low in fat and cholesterol, has more vitamins, acts as a dairy alternative and is a natural probiotic.

Founder of Nouq, Fred Kuzyk told Gulf News: “It is real gelato that is low in calorie and cholesterol. It is safe for those with milk protein allergies. We have been told [by buyers] that the gelato is light and the right indulgence.”

Nouq has nine flavours of camel milk gelato namely, honey-saffron, date-peanut, chocolate, vanilla, Lotus and more (Dh10). They are found at supermarkets like Spinneys, Waitrose and CircleK convenience stores.

LightWhey protein ice cream
LightWhey protein ice cream is another healthier option for those counting calories Image Credit: Supplied

If you are looking for an ice cream rich in protein, you can opt for LightWhey.

Started by Dubai-based brothers, the company produces ice cream that on average is “22.5 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 7.5 grams of fat and zero sugar”.

According to the company’s official website, the ice cream has protein, uses no artificial colours and uses a natural sweetener, Xylitol, which is found in many fruits and vegetables, and is extracted from corn.

According to Mohannad Hourani, founder and general manager at LightWhey: “Our ice creams use whey protein, they have less carbohydrates, no added sugar and less fat than regular ice cream. It is great for athletes or just healthy people on a diet as it contains less calories.”

He added that whey protein is used because it has the best type of protein in terms of absorption and benefits. The ice cream tubs are 200ml and are sold at Dh15 at Farmer’s Garden, Fitness First gyms, Choithrams and Emarat outlets. The ice cream comes in many flavours like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

Additionally, Coco Yogo serves vegan ice cream that is organic and made locally. Operation manager Evelin Novikova said: “We have organic coconut ice cream in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mango and matcha mint.

“They are vegan and we add agave syrup or date syrup to chocolate ice cream, fresh or unsweetened frozen fruits to strawberry and mango ice cream, organic vanilla to the vanilla ice cream and matcha power to our matcha ice cream.”

They are sold in grab and go packages and are Dh15.75 on online delivery services.

Additionally, ice cream parlours like Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, London Diary Cafe and Bistro and Ice cream Lab have sugar-free ice cream options at their stores.