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What’s the Real Skinny on the Supposedly Low-Fat Skinny Cow Ice Cream Products?

This is the first time I’ve ever heard ‘skinny’ and ‘ice cream’ being used in the same sentence. Can it possibly be true?

Skinny Cow professes to be the miracle drug of frozen dessert treats — capable of delivering a real hit of ice cream but at not nearly the typical amount of fat content. Which, of course, sounds great. The problem is, fat is rarely the issue when it comes to ice cream. The real culprit behind undesirable weight gain from foodstuffs like ice cream is typically sugar, which is subsumed within the carbohydrate column of the nutrient tally.

So what happens when you compare a Skinny Cow Vanilla Gone Wild Ice Cream Sandwich to one of its full-fat competitors, like a Klondike Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich? Here’s the tale of the tape:

At face value, Skinny Cow delivers 30 fewer calories per serving than Klondike, with slightly less fat and carbohydrates. But that’s without taking a closer look at serving size. One Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich is 64 grams per serving, while the Klondike ice cream sandwich is 76 grams, which makes it nearly 20 percent larger in total weight. 

So what happens to the nutrient statistics of the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich if we amplify it to 76 grams? Check it out for yourself:

To be clear, I followed the accepted rounding rules for Nutrition Facts, which is why the cholesterol count still remains at 10 milligrams. But the takeaway is: We’ve been had. 

On an equalized basis, a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich barely has less fat than a Klondike ice cream sandwich, only has slightly more protein and has even more carbohydrates, likely in the form of increased sugar. The only reason Skinny Cow appears to be less indulgent is because they’re selling you less total ice cream sandwich content for your money — almost one fewer per package by total weight. (Hilariously, too, Skinny Cow’s ice cream sandwiches routinely sell for 20 percent more than Klondike’s through most vendors.)

In fairness, at its core, this is the essence of what’s promised by Skinny Cow’s branding: “We make real, indulgent, full-flavored desserts in perfectly reasonable portions.” Apparently, a reasonable portion is 20 percent smaller, and the extra 20 percent cost is a service charge for handling your portion control needs.

Now, if you really love the taste of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches that much more than those by Klondike (or any other such brand), then by all means pay the premium and enjoy your dessert. Otherwise, the words of Bart Simpson have never rang more true: “Don’t have a (skinny) cow man.” Especially if you think that cow is gonna leave you thinner than before.