In more and more supermarkets we now find cups of protein ice cream in the freezer. Ice cream with an extra portion of protein and few calories – the fitness scene has been waiting a long time for this. Normally, ice cream hardly supplies any protein, but a protein ice cream can provide around 10 grams per 100 millilitres.
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The only question is: Which ingredients instead of cream, sugar & co. cavort in the cups and how does the allegedly healthier ice cream taste? We did the test and had six different products (all in the variety chocolate) tasted in the editorial office. A small spoiler in advance: We were positively surprised by the result.
In this article:
- Protein ice cream from Protami
- Protein ice cream from Pro Delight
- Protein ice cream from STARK
- Protein ice cream from Koupe
- Ice powder from MyProtein
- Ice powder from Foodspring
- Conclusion: The right ice cream for every taste
1. protein ice cream from Protami
Daniel and Paul, the two founders of Protami, began developing a healthy ice cream for athletes as early as 2014. The result is a protein ice cream that contains no added sugar at all. We tasted the Chocolate Chip variety and Ingredients once under the microscope:
Skimmed milk, whey protein concentrate, sweetener (xylitol), dark chocolate drops with sweetener (maltitol),( cocoa mass, maltitol, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin)), cocoa mass, thickened skimmed milk, low-fat cocoa powder, bourbon vanilla extract, table salt.
Sugar (or glucose syrup) is actually not found in the list of ingredients, but the relatively new (and often hyped) sugar substitute xylitol appears in third place. Xylitol (also known to many under the trade name Xucker) looks like sugar, tastes like sugar, but has only half as many calories as sugar. It is also not bad for the teeth and is metabolised independently of insulin, as xylitol is one of the so-called sugar alcohols (and not carbohydrates).
The only disadvantage: Like all sugar alcohols, it has a laxative effect in high doses. However, if you eat the ice cream in moderation, you will not notice it.
Furthermore top: There are no aromas or stabilizers in the Protami ice cream. The emulsifier soya lecithin is often used together with chocolate, makes the ice cream nice and creamy and is considered a harmless additive.
Nutritional value check
The nutritional values (data per 100 millilitres) can also convince us:
And what about the taste? Creamy, melt-in-the-mouth and very chocolaty. Almost all test eaters found the sweetness to be “optimal” and were positively surprised by the small chocolate pieces that provide more crunch. Only one gave a 4 (average: 2) as a school grade and liked neither consistency (“too watery”) nor taste (“not sweet enough”).
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2. protein ice cream from Pro Delight
As soon as you open the cup, one thing becomes clear: Pro Delight’s protein ice cream “Shaka-lade” is something very special. Why: Both colour and consistency differ greatly from the other test products. It looks like a dark chocolate ice cream because the colour is very dark and strong. The consistency is reminiscent of a brownie in a purely visual sense. I wonder if the ice cream tastes the same? We will see. First of all we will take another look at the List of ingredients :
Skimmed milk, whey protein concentrate, sweetener xylitol, cocoa powder, chocolate (sugar, cocoa mass), cocoa butter, butter concentrate, emulsifier: mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, stabiliser: locust bean gum, guar gum, sodium alginate.
The list of ingredients is similar to that of the predecessor Protami. Here too we find the low-calorie sugar alcohol xylitol instead of sugar in the ice cream. But in the Shaka-lade more chocolate and cocoa was used, which explains the rich colour. Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids are used as emulsifier. Sounds kind of mean, doesn’t it? But this is also a harmless additive, which – like soy lecithin – is even approved for baby food.
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Among other things, the stabilizers prevent crystals from forming in the ice cream and give it more creaminess – especially in calorie-reduced products. The additive sodium alginate is often used in TK -goods processed. It gives the ice the necessary stability when thawing or freezing.
Nutritional value check
The nutritional values (data per 100 millilitres) are top compared to normal chocolate ice cream:
Pro Delight can also convince in the taste test with its Shaka-lade: a wonderfully airy and crazy chocolaty ice cream that actually tastes like a kind of frozen brownie. But if you are not a fan of dark chocolate, you probably won’t be happy with this protein ice cream. Some test eaters simply found the strong chocolate flavour “too much”.
3. protein ice cream from STARK
The ice from STARK is probably the “youngest” representative of the test round, as the product is still relatively new on the market. Compared to the “competition” the start-up from Hamburg surprises above all with its short and clean List of ingredients :
Drinking water, agave syrup, whey protein concentrate, cocoa, acacia fibre, hazelnut paste, hazelnuts, skimmed milk powder, thickeners (guar gum, locust bean gum).
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Here we find neither sugar nor sugar substitutes. The ice cream gets its sweetness exclusively from the addition of agave syrup. This natural sweetener has the disadvantage of being very fructose rich (explains the high sugar content in the nutritional table) and basically has as many calories as sugar. And there is another positive aspect: The main ingredient is water, not milk.
Nutritional value check
In terms of nutritional values (data per 100 millilitres), organic ice cream is in a good midfield. In terms of protein and sugar content, it is a little weaker than the others:
There are from STARK unfortunately no pure chocolate ice cream (as with the others), but only the “chocolate-hazelnut” variety. And if it were up to our test eaters, the ice cream would actually have to be called “Hazelnut-Chocolate”, because the nut clearly dominates the taste. In addition, the ice cream contains small hazelnut pieces and no chocolate pieces, but this is definitely considered positive.
Some testers lack sweetness, others miss the chocolate taste or complain that the ice cream is not creamy enough. Overall, however, an average good result, with school grades from 2 to 4.
4. protein ice cream from Koupe
Koupe’s award-winning protein ice cream has won the “World Dairy Innovation Award” in the category “Best Ice Cream / Frozen Yoghurt” in 2016. The manufacturers have thus set the bar quite high for the other candidates in the test. Can the ice cream keep its promises? Let’s take a look at the Ingredients :
Milk, milk protein, bulking agent: polydextrose, glucose syrup, sweetener: xylitol, cocoa powder, fructose, stabilisers (locust bean gum, guar gum and carrageenan), emulsifier (mono- and disaccharides of fatty acids)
Well, Koupe won’t get a price for the “cleanest” ingredients list from us. In comparison there are relatively many additives included. Xylitol and the mono- and disaccharides have already been dealt with and rated as “okay”. Glucose syrup, fructose and also polydextrose are new. Glucose syrup is basically nothing more than sugar syrup and fructose is also a type of sugar, more precisely fruit sugar. This may sound healthy, but fructose is by no means healthier than normal sugar.
It is just metabolised differently.
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Polydextrose is a harmless additive which is often used in low-calorie products together with sweeteners as a so-called “bulking agent”. It gives the (ice cream) mass more volume and structure, as cream and other sources of fat are missing. The additive carrageenan should also be viewed rather critically, as the stabilizer and filler has long been suspected of being harmful to health. Although it is even approved for organic products, the study situation is controversial and not clear.
Nutritional value check
As far as protein content is concerned, Koupe definitely leaves the competitors behind in the nutritional value check (data per 100 millilitres). The calorie content, however, is comparatively high. Of course there is also chocolate ice cream with more calories, but with the Langnese classic Cremissimo “Chocolate Dream” we have, in our opinion, chosen a good “mainstream” ice cream for comparison:
The test eaters also disagree about Koupe’s protein ice cream: the school grades range from 1 to 4, and the consistency is generally described as nice and creamy, fluffy and milky. For some, the ice cream was a bit too sweet and at the same time not chocolaty enough. The note “tastes like cheap chocolate” was also noted on the questionnaires. For 3 out of 8 testers, however, this ice cream was the personal favourite that they would buy again and again.
The only thing that helps here is to try it yourself and form an opinion.
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5. protein ice cream powder from MyProtein
There is also a protein ice cream from MyProtein – but in powder form. The preparation should be quick, but there is a problem: The package says: “Mix 3 large scoops (50 g) with 200 ml of cold water. On the website, however, we find a completely different information afterwards: “Mix 2 1/2 scoops with 50 ml of water and put it in the freezer.” We followed the instructions on the package, as a normal customer would probably have done.
The solubility of the powder was very poor, so we finally put the whole thing in a mixer to get the mass lump-free. And here come the ingredients :
Whey protein concentrate (milk) [enthält Sojalecithin] Skimmed milk powder, Cocoa powder, Natural Flavouring, Sweetener (Sucralose), Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT s), (sodium caseinate (milk), glucose syrup residue, emulsifier (E472c)), thickeners (guar gum, xanthan gum).
Reads a little like a chemistry set, doesn’t it? Instead of xylitol, this protein ice cream mix has the chemical sweetener sucralose. It’s about 600 times sweeter than sugar and practically calorie-free. Sounds great, but whether sucralose is actually healthy or rather unhealthy is a very controversial issue. There is a point deduction for the “natural flavour”, because a good product does not need any flavour additives.
MCT s some of you may know from the paleo-scene, because there you swear by the effect of “medium-chain triglycerides” as a fast (ketogenic) energizer. The medium-chain fatty acids are particularly easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Citric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E472c) are used as emulsifiers and are considered to be harmless. Among other things, the thickening agent xanthan reduces the formation of ice crystals in ice.
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Nutritional value check
It is difficult to compare the nutritional values here, as there are only indications in grams and not in millilitres, as with the others. For the sake of completeness, but also here Nutritional values per 100 grams powder :
Unfortunately. DIY -protein ice cream does not go down well with our test eaters. Neither the consistency (“watery”, “sticky”, “grilled”) nor the taste are convincing. There is almost no chocolate note, but the ice cream is still much too sweet (“very artificial”). Average school grade: poor.
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6. protein ice cream powder from Foodspring
Foodspring also enters the race with an ice powder. According to the package, the mixing ratio is water (70 millilitres) to powder (60 grams). Mixing with the shaker as described in the instructions is difficult. We prepared the “ice mass” – as with MyProtein – with the help of a mixer, because we could not get the lumps out manually (by pure shaking). Let us take a look at the List of ingredients :
Whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, sweeteners (xylitol, steviol glycosides), cocoa powder, dark chocolate drops (cocoa mass, sweetener (xylitol), cocoa butter, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), flavouring), natural flavouring (contains lactose), MCT -oil (coconut oil), thickener (guar gum), acidifier (citric acid), sea salt.
First and foremost, whey protein as a concentrate and isolate – that makes more than sense for a protein ice cream. This is followed again by the low-calorie sugar alcohol xylitol, which was also used by almost all other manufacturers. But Foodspring also uses another sweetener: steviol glycosides. Not unusual, because they also use it in their protein powders. Since 2011, Stevia is available as an additive in the EU authorised, but with restrictions on the maximum quantity.
The main disadvantage of the sweetener: the liquorice-like aftertaste. Furthermore there are (unfortunately) added aromas, MCT -oil (see test report MyProtein) and guar gum as thickening agent.
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Nutritional value check
Here too, the nutritional values are only given in grams ( per 100 grams ) and therefore cannot be compared. Nevertheless, we will list them once:
In the taste test the protein ice cream from Foodspring does not come off so well. The taste is described as “too sweet” and “artificial”. Furthermore, the mentioned liquorice-like aftertaste (Stevia) is criticized. Our testers also don’t like the consistency, there are ice crystals and the ice cream is rather watery. But this surely has to do with the fact that it must be prepared by hand.
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Conclusion: The right protein ice cream for every taste
There was no clear winner in our protein ice cream test. Because as so often has been confirmed again: tastes are different. But there are many small winners: The “cleanest” list of ingredients had STARK The most chocolaty taste is definitely the Shaka-lade from Pro Delight, the crunchiest chocolate pieces can be found in the protein ice cream from Protami and Koupe had the most votes at the point “This is my favorite”.
Find your personal ice cream favourite and test yourself through the different products. Chocolate is not your thing? No problem, because all manufacturers have at least two more varieties on offer.
* classic chocolate ice cream in stores: Langnese-Cremissimo “Chocolate dream”