Skip to content

5 Reasons To Skip Soft Serve This Summer

Bad news: summer's most coveted treat is a disaster in disguise!

A swirl-topped cone of soft serve may entice you to beat the summer heat by indulging in one a bit more often than usual, but don't fall for its aesthetic or healthy-ish claims! While the treat contains about 40 to 45 percent air, and many brands market their versions of the smooth ice cream as light and low-fat (think Carvelite), this dessert isn't the best for your belly. The stuff is actually made up of much more than just milk and sugar. In fact, many servings pack a slew of harmful ingredients in order to achieve the craved consistency and long shelf life. Find out exactly why you should forgo the soft serve this season by scrolling through our list, and then consider opting for one of these 14 Best Brand Name Ice Creams for Weight Loss to fulfill your sweet tooth instead.

It's Packed With Carrageenan

dairy products

You've most likely noticed carrageenan on the ingredient lists of many of your favorite dairy products. But, just because the seaweed-derived thickener is widespread, that doesn't mean it's necessarily good for you. "People who have a sensitive stomach or GI tract may be more sensitive to carrageenan," explains Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CSCS, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

…And More Funky Additives

doctor visit

Although phosphates are essential for building bones and teeth as well as promoting proper muscle and nerve function, soft serve's additive sodium phosphate isn't. That's because when excess levels of the stuff enters our bloodstream, it can increase the risk for heart disease, chronic kidney disease, weak bones, and even premature death! In addition to that, soft serve contains waist-expanding high fructose corn syrup, as well as polysorbate 80 — which, according to Georgia State University researchers, causes cancer cells to flourish in your gut. That's definitely not worth a lick.

Trans Fats Lurk Within

measure belly

While mono- and diglycerides are essential to binding the plethora of ingredients found in soft serve, they're also code words for trans fats — which are linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. No wonder these sneaky substances made our list of 13 Scary Ingredients in Your Kid's Lunch Box, Exposed!

It's Bad For Babies

angry baby

This treat is a no go for pregnant women because of the bacteria listeria, which likely lives in unsterilized soft serve machines. According to Baby Center, if the expecting mother is infected with listeria, the bug can harm the placenta, amniotic fluid, or fetus. And this can lead to over a handful of complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, as well as meningitis and respiratory infections in the newborn. Skip soft serve, as well as these 7 Worst Ice Creams When You're Pregnant, to ensure your baby is as healthy as can be.

It Can Upset Your Tummy

upset stomach

Besides for potentially harming a growing belly, this creamy enemy can upset your own tummy as well. Even if you're not particularly lactose intolerant, many people have trouble digesting this type of sugar, which can lead to stomach problems such as gas and bloating. Why's that? It turns out that most folks stop producing dairy-digesting lactase after childhood. Avoid these issues and more by discovering exactly What Happens To Your Body When You Give Up Dairy.


April Benshosan, MS
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April