Dairy Logue: Enough

Already
Many American consumers today are making an effort to choose healthier foods. They clamor for tofu and leafy greens, for salmon and ice cream.
Wait a second — ice cream?
Judging by the product introductions of the past six months, it certainly seems as though ice cream is crossing over into health food territory. In fact, scores of reduced-carbohydrate versions of the frozen treat now are vying for freezer space.
Although low-carb anything is all the rage right now, just how many such ice creams can the market actually sustain? How long before consumers — diabetics aside — tire of the whole concept and move on to sweeter pastures?
Ice cream was designed to be an indulgence, after all, and I for one believe the low-carb thing already has gone too far.
If I crave a piece of candy, I’ll savor a small square of rich, high-quality chocolate. Likewise, if I yearn for frozen treat, I’ll fill my cone — but not overfill it — with an ice cream that’s just a bit sinful.
Don’t get me wrong. I applaud those processors that have managed to reduce the fat, the salt and/or the sugar — and to boost the levels of health-promoting ingredients such as fiber — in prepared meals and other non-dessert products. Many of these products taste great while making it easier for consumers such as me to stick to a healthier eating routine.
However, most of us relish a decadent dietary diversion now and then. A healthier ice cream somehow lessens the thrill, transforming an indulgence into a sensible snack.
A certain number of consumers will remain loyal to the reduced-carb ice creams, just as some others will continue to support the lower-fat frozen treats. But I honestly believe only a select few of the carb-controlled products will still be standing a year or two from now.
I expect we’ll soon see much of the effort that’s currently aimed at carbohydrate reductions directed once again toward indulgence — perhaps with a greater emphasis on portion control this time around. It’s time to lose the “good food/bad food” mindset and think in terms of moderation.
I’ll certainly be on the lookout for that perfect double chocolate ice cream infused with chocolate cookie pieces and a rich caramel variegate. But just one scoop, please.