When summer makes you scream for ice cream, don’t let lactose intolerance or high cholesterol, insulin resistance and diabetes from HIV (and the meds) freeze you out. In general, “it’s OK to reward yourself,” says Kevin Armington, MD, HIV clinical-services director at New York City’s Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. “Just use portion control.” Plus, there are ice-cream substitutes that are better for you and taste almost as good. Armington and God’s Love We Deliver dietitian Elysa Silbersmith chart the nutritional pros and cons of the four top choices:


1.  Ice Cream The High-fat-original, made with milk, comes in nonfat, low-fat and no-sugar-added, which uses Splenda instead.
2.  Sorbet There’s no milk in sorbet.  With iced fruit juice plus sugar or an artificial sweetener, it saves you from fat and dairy.
3.  Frozen Yogurt Using yogurt instead of milk--plus artificial sugars--it cuts calories and guilt, while adding that good-for-you bacteria.
4.  Soy Ice Cream  Ditch dairy! This swaps milk for soy--a creamy nondairy alternative made from soybeans.

Perfect For

1. Even those with cholesterol problems can indulge occasionally-but limit yourself to half a cup. Watching your sugar intake or your waist? Look for varieties with labels promi sing low fat or no extra sweetener.

2. Armington says milkless sorbet suits those with high cholesterol. But if you’re watching your sugar, Silbersmith warns that “low or nonfat can mean extra sugar.”  As always, read the label first.

3. Yogurt comes nonfat, low-fat or no-sugar added.  But if you have diarrhea, skip the ones with artificial sugars (unless you’re diabetic). Silbersmith says, “Sugar substitutes can have a laxative effect and give you gas.”

4. Good for lactose intolerance and rich in protein (and a plant source of female hormones). But Silbersmith warns, “Read labels: Some soy ice creams contain a lot of fat.”