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Last night we were strolling down a “restaurant row” in St. Petersburg, Florida and after dinner we found ourselves in front of a gelato place.  In the spirit of “Do as Dr. Posner says, not what he does”, I ventured into the gelato store and the array of flavors were amazing and I was enticed to order a cup.  For $5 bucks they offered up three different flavors in the cup.  Somehow, I convinced myself that the action I took was better, from a caloric standpoint, of wandering into a Baskin Robbins and having ice cream.

So, is gelato a better choice than ice cream if you are on a weight control journey?  First, a bit of a background:  Ice cream was apparently developed in China whereas gelato has it’s origins in Italy.  Both share the following contents:  sugar, air, dairy and flavorings added  The dairy comes in the form of creams or milk.  Egg whites can also be involved as a component.

Here is where the two products separate:  Gelato has less air and more milk than ice cream and ice cream tends to have more fat and more sugar.  The caloric content of ice cream will exceed the caloric content of gelato.

An important point is also the “add ons” that we will tend to place on ice cream:  Syrups, hot fudge, nuts, cherries, etc.  With gelato, this is usually eaten without any of these additional high sugar/high calorie accompaniments.

The bottom line:  If one is confronted with the choice of gelato or ice cream, choose the gelato.  OR, be stronger than Posner and bypass both.  Also, choose the smallest size available, pick a cup as opposed to a cone and ask yourself the question before entering the store seeking ice cream or gelato:  “Do I really need this???”