A Good Ice Cream is Hard to Find


Ice cream is milk, cream, sugar, and real flavor ingredients like vanilla or cocoa (not to be confused with “flavoring” ingredients.) As simple as the ingredients are, real ice cream is very hard to find.

Most ice cream brands contain things like cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, dextrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and dyes.  Yuck – unhealthy ingredients, some with possible negative health side effects and all with unknown side effects in the quantity and combination they’re found in our food system.

The two I’ve found to be closest to the real deal are Breyers (regular not low fat or light) and Turkey Hill Philadelphia Style (I guess Philadelphians don’t like additives in their ice cream).


The FDA says ingesting bovine growth hormone is safe.  But is it?

Remember when you were breastfeeding your baby (or knew someone who was breastfeeding a baby)? Doctors recommend avoiding alcohol and being careful about what medications are ingested – because everything that goes into the mother comes out in the milk. I feel certain my doctor wouldn’t have recommended I take a growth hormone while I was breastfeeding. What’s different about cows? Nothing.

  • The Bovine Growth Hormone rBGH, is banned in Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and all 27 nations of the European Union. Babies in China are developing breasts at seven months because of rBST in the formula.
  • rBGH was developed by Monsanto. The company’s own studies found that the amount of IGF-1 in milk more than doubled when cows were injected with rBGH.  A European Commission committee determined that excessive levels of IGF-1 in milk of cows injected with rBGH may pose serious risks of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
  • Bovine Growth Hormone is also notorious for causing the cows much pain and distress because it increases diseases like lameness and mastitis in cows injected with it. Increased udder infections mean more injections of antibiotics, which also end up in the milk.

SO HOW DO I GET REAL ICE CREAM? I usually make it myself in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. Unfortunately, I’ve found it hard to find a cream that’s just cream, without carageenan, guar gum, Polysorbate 80, or other stuff. Seriously, why isn’t cream just cream? But that’s another blog post.

The bottom line: Bovine Growth Hormone can cause some serious health problems. Avoid or severely limit intake of Breyer’s, Haagen-Dazs, and Baskin-Robbins ice cream because the milk used comes from cows given the growth hormones rBGH/rBST. Know what’s in your ice cream by reading the ingredients. Eat wisely.

8 comments for “A Good Ice Cream is Hard to Find

  1. Jeff
    August 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    This is a thought provoking post, but you list Breyers as both dangerous and most safe. Is there is a mis-statement there?

  2. cat
    August 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Apologies: didn’t mean to be unclear. I always found Breyers to be closest to real ice cream — until now.

    I called Turkey Hill and was told that although they request the farmers don’t give cows the bovine growth hormone, there is no way to know for sure. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    Ben and Jerry’s, on the other hand, gave a resounding “No” to the question of hormones in their ice cream. So they must have more confidence in their farmers.

    Breyer’s owns Good Humor, Klondike Bars, and Popsicle. Haagan-Daz is owned by Dreyer’s, which also owns Edy’s and Nestle.

  3. Tracey
    August 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    We are a serious ice cream loving house. I thought I was making the better choice…choosing only ice cream with simply, clearly marked ingredients (like Breyers Vanilla Bean). My daughter is showing signs of change in her body that I did not experience until I was much, much older. For the her first two years of life she had breast milk (produced in the best way I could). We buy organic whenever possible. But ice cream has been one of those food items, when my kids are begging for oreo cookie flavor and grocery shopping isn’t quite done yet, I put simple vanilla in the cart and it quiets them down, (or at times impulsively for myself). I have brushed the worry under the carpet and told myself, “oh, it’s just a scoop.” I read the article you linked to. Very informative and will cause me to do more of my own homework. Thanks for creating greater awareness, once again!

  4. October 4, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Why does finding Real Food have to be so frustrating?
    I try to buy small batch ice cream from a local “artisan” type store which seems to be doing quite well, thank goodness. However it is Very expensive and for a crowd like a birthday party…well, I head to the store. Where I take a long read at the ingredients label of all the brands. Hard to find one with 5 ingredients or less, no HFCS and no rGBH.

    Today, I was looking for cream. Real cream. Amazingly hard to find. Strange things on the shelf too…like Fat Free half and half…Fat Free? isn’t the whole point of cream to be, well…full of FAT?

    Feel like I need some land and a cow and some chickens.

  5. cat
    October 5, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Viki: Fat free half and half is one of my pet peeves as well. A seriously unnatural product on so many levels!

    Whole Foods 365 brand and Stoneyfield Farms are both rBGH-free and good with regard to ingredients. Electric ice cream makers are also a good option if you eat ice cream on a regular basis. I have a Cuisinart and never thought I’d use it as much as I do.

  6. March 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I’m delighted to find your web site! Thank goodness this rBGH issue is being discussed. I’m ready MILK: THE DEADY POISON by Robert Cohen, and WOW! is it an eye-opener! Personally, I wish they’d just stop messing around with our food supply and let us eat clean, healthy, Garden-of-Eden food! PLEASE!!!

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