Ice Cream Versus Gelato: Which One Is Healthier?

Gelato and ice cream are two popular and delicious frozen treats that can really hit the spot on a hot summer day — but what exactly is the difference between the two desserts and which one is better for you?

Made with milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks, ice cream is churned at a high speed to ensure air is incorporated into the mix (via Eat This, Not That!). This process increases the overall volume of the ice cream, making it more airy and less dense. It's also usually served at cold temperatures in order to maintain its texture. Gelato, on the other hand, is slow-churned and made with more milk and less cream. It is also rarely ever made with eggs. Since gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream, it is generally more dense and is served at warmer temperatures, making it both softer and smoother than its frozen counterpart.

The nutritional differences between ice cream and gelato

While neither frozen treat is actually considered healthy, gelato has less calories and a lower fat content than ice cream. That's because ice cream is made with more cream and eggs than gelato. Around 4% to 9% of the calories in gelato come from fat, whereas ice cream can contain up to 25% fat (via Healthline). Both desserts, however, are made with quite a bit of sugar. On average, just one serving of ice cream contains 210 calories and 16 grams of sugar, while a single serving of gelato contains around 160 calories and 17 grams of sugar.

Although gelato may contain less calories and fat, both treats are fairly high in calories and total amounts of sugar. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. If you prefer cold and creamy, eating a scoop of ice cream will certainly hit the spot. If you like your frozen treats smooth and silky, however, gelato may be the better option for you.