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Is There Such A Thing As Guilt-Free Ice Cream?

A perfect scoop of healthier ice cream

Vegan, low-sugar, low-fat and low-cal ice-creams have gotten a makeover! But how healthy can the indulgent treat REALLY be? In a recent episode of CAN’s Talking Point documentary series, Dr Chiang Jie Hong, Senior Research Fellow at A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) shared the ingredients that make up ice cream and explained their functions.

At SIFBI, our research integrates basic and translational food science to design food with nutritional advantages. We have done research to show that plant-based proteins such as soy, and chickpea and plant-based fat sources such as sunflower and coconut oil, in replacing dairy proteins and fat, can also produce equally good quality ice cream. 

Dr Chiang’s research interests include using plant-based alternatives to replicate the luxurious creaminess of premium ice-cream, and to develop meat alternatives for the Asian markets. He studies how to improve textural, nutritional and sensory properties of plant-based ice cream by using different raw materials and processing parameters. He believes that the ideal plant-based ice cream should have adequate amounts of nutrients, such that it might be suitable even for the elderly, who enjoy the soft, refreshing texture of ice cream but may not get enough calories in their diet. The ice cream recipe that he and his team have developed has a substantial amount of protein, fat, and calories.