What’s The Difference Between Sherbet and Sorbet?

Health Talk

Q: What’s the difference between sherbet and sorbet?

A: Both sherbet and sorbet are frozen desserts made with fruit purée or juice, sugar, and flavorings. Sherbet also contains a small amount of milk, and possibly egg white or gelatin so sorbet is preferable for people who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, vegetarian, or vegan.

Sherbet and sorbet differ in calories based on the brand. One cup of either one may contain about 160 to 200 calories, which includes some natural sugar from fruit, but also lots of high fructose corn syrup or other added sugar (from 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar). Both are low in fat, typically containing only about two or three grams per cup, far below ice cream. Because it does contain some milk, sherbet has 80 milligrams of calcium per cup, which is about what’s in a quarter cup of milk.

Sorbet and sherbet are both lower in calories than the rich, high-fat “gourmet” ice creams. However, their high sugar content means they may have about the same amount of calories as light ice cream or frozen yogurt, or some store-brand ice creams.

Since there is wide variation between brands, check labels as you make your choice. Don’t forget the impact of portion size – a low-fat or low-calorie choice still adds up if you eat a big bowl. No matter which you choose, enjoy a half-cup serving in a bowl filled with delicious fruit for fewer calories and more nutrients and fiber.

The Author:

AICR Health Talk

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND
American Institute for Cancer Research

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF).

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