With warmer temperatures comes the craving for cooler foods, including that favorite summer standby, ice cream.\nWhether you like it in a cone or a bowl, this sweet treat can seem like the perfect way to top off a barbecue or day at the beach. It’s no secret that ice cream isn’t always the healthiest choice. Ice cream tends to be high in sugar and fat, for starters.\nSo are there smarter options?\nIn recent years, “healthy” ice cream brands have popped up in supermarkets. These products claim to be low in sugar and calories and high in protein, making them popular among people who are trying to lose weight or get fit. But are these ice creams good for you \u2014 or just a gimmick?\nRELATED:\u00a0Is Frozen Yogurt Really Healthy?\nThe Good News About ‘Healthy’ Ice Cream Brands\nSo-called healthy ice creams claim to be lower in calories than traditional ice cream, and that’s true.\nGet healthy with the help of UPMC Nutrition Services\nDepending on the brand, low-calorie ice creams tend to contain between 35 and 60 calories per half-cup serving. That compares to about 130 calories per half-cup serving of regular ice cream.\nHealthy ice cream products are also lower in fat and sugar: One serving typically contains less than 2 grams of fat and 4 to 5 grams of sugar, while a serving of regular ice cream can have upwards of 7 grams of fat and 14 grams of sugar.\nSome “healthy” ice creams boast that they contain a higher amount of protein \u2014 which can appeal to bodybuilders and others trying to increase their muscle mass \u2014 but they actually have just a gram or two more per serving than regular brands.\nRELATED:\u00a06 Tips for Healthier Summer Drinks\nThe Questionable News About ‘Healthy’ Ice Cream\n“Healthy” ice cream brands keep their calorie content low in a couple of ways.\nFirst, they tend to contain more air and less actual food: According to one estimate, a half-cup of low-calorie ice cream product only weighs about two-thirds as much as its regular counterpart. This suggests that the product has been made fluffier and less dense \u2014 but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you.\nSome healthy brands list fiber on their labels, an ingredient that’s usually not found in standard ice cream. But this frozen treat is hardly the best source of fiber.\nYou’re better off getting it from wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds because they also contain more vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.\nThe Bad News About ‘Healthy’ Ice Cream\nHealthy ice cream often contains sugar substitutes rather than pure sugar. Although this helps keep calories at a minimum, these alternative sweeteners may carry their own risks.\nFor example, erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is low in calories but can cause unpleasant side effects, including bloating, gas, and other digestive woes.\nPlus, “healthy” ice cream products are highly processed and can contain various additives, such as glycerin, carob gum, and guar gum, which are used to mimic the feel of real ice cream.\nThe Bottom Line on This Sweet Treat\nHealthy ice cream may be a decent substitute for standard varieties, especially if you’re counting calories. But that shouldn’t give you license to consume higher amounts of it, and it certainly isn’t a health food. Limit yourself to an occasional serving \u2014 not the whole pint.