First was the butter board; then came the cottage cheese ice cream. Yes, you read that right – the humble cottage cheese has been at the heart of the latest foodie trend, if social media is to be believed.
Made viral by TikTokers the world-over, cottage cheese ice cream – a twist on the classic dessert, but incorporating the lumpy dairy curd – has become all the range among health-conscious (or just curious) foodies. The dairy product has a high protein content and packs in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients - but do these health benefits disappear once it’s churned into an indulgent after-dinner treat? We consulted the British Nutrition Foundation to find out more.
Mind the sugar
“Cottage cheese is relatively low in fat, especially if you choose reduced fat versions, and high in protein. It is also a source of B vitamins, calcium and iodine,” opened Bridget Benelam, nutrition communications manager at the British Nutrition Foundation. Benelam has a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester and also holds an MSc in Human Nutrition from King’s College London. She has worked at the UK Food Standards Agency and joined BNF in 2006 as a nutrition scientist.
Unsurprisingly, some of the nutritional benefits, such as the low fat and sugar content, would disappear if consumers over-indulge in added sugars or add processed sugary items on top. “Cottage cheese is naturally low in sugars, but adding sugar or syrups if making ice cream will increase this, so it’s important to be mindful and not to add too much,” confirmed Benelam.
Being conscious of the sugar content is paramount for any frozen dessert, however – even if a product is marketed as a low-calorie dessert. “Even lower-calorie ice creams and products such as sorbets or frozen yogurts tend to be sugary,” Benelam explained, “and so generally should be something to have as a treat rather than an everyday food.”
But for those seeking to add another high-protein source to their diet, whipping up their own cottage cheese dessert could be the way to go. “Depending on the recipe, ice cream made with cottage cheese is likely to have a higher protein content than other ‘healthy’ ice creams,” Benelam said.
“And if you’re making it at home, you have the option to add a range of fruit and to control how much sugar is added to make it a relatively healthy dessert.”