Gelato vs Ice Cream

It is very common throughout the world for the word “gelato” to be translated as “ice cream” or its local equivalent. However this ice cream challenge is the best chance to notice that there are significant differences between Gelato and Ice Cream.

Italian gelato contains less fat than ice cream, has less incorporated air, and is served at a higher temperature. Consequently, gelato provides a greater flavor experience because there is less fat that coats the taste buds, more flavor per spoonful (due to lower quantity of air), and the taste buds are more alive since the temperature is not so cold as to dull their sensitivity. Not to mention fewer calories to burn!

Ice cream is made in large industrial batches, uses ingredients designed for lengthy storage, has limited flavors, and is stocked for sale in supermarkets. Authentic Italian gelato, on the other hand, is produced fresh practically every day in relatively small quantities, is sold directly to the public, and is available in a large number of flavors – usually based on fresh ingredients that make the gelato creamy and colorful.

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It is therefore correct to maintain a clear distinction between the two products, even linguistically.

Carpigiani Gelato University is dedicated to the development of the gelato culture throughout the world and therefore will always refer to the product by its true name, GELATO.

Gelato, a natural food for everybody

Gelato is a natural food with an important nutritional component. In fact, the ingredients of gelato are the same as those you probably use almost every day: milk, eggs, cream, cocoa, fruit and basic building blocks like proteins, sugar, fat, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Milk-based gelato contains proteins of significant biological value, full of essential amino acids that are very useful to the body and its constant regeneration. The main carbohydrates in gelato are mostly lactose and sucrose, simple sugars that are quickly metabolized. These nutrients are useful when the body is in movement, particularly when recovering from athletic activity.

Fat in gelato provides a favorable quota of short chain fatty acids that are used as a source of energy by the body. Gelato also includes helpful amounts of vitamin A and B2, calcium, and phosphorous.


The raw materials used in gelato production fall into different categories: dairy (milk, cream, butter), sweeteners (sucrose, fructose, lactose), flavorings (cocoa, chocolate, juices, fruit pulp), and other additives (eggs, additives, coloring, alcohol, etc).

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Dividing the ingredients into groups corresponding to the body’s needs, we find the following:

  • Water (fluid needs): the vehicle that transports the construction materials to where the body needs them.
  • Sugar (energy needs): very important source of energy for quick use.
  • Fat (energy needs): found in almost all foods except for sugars.
  • Protein (building needs): satisfy the basic organic need to construct new tissue and to substitute damaged and dying muscle.
  • Minerals (needs for natural elements): help nutrients do their jobs.
  • Vitamins (vitamin needs): necessary for making best use of nutrients in food.
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Gelato contains all these elements, essential for complete nutrition.

Just think about the significant presence of milk in gelato, milk being the only food consumed by infants, in which newborns find all they need: water, sugar, fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins. If you compare the nutritional value of milk with that of gelato you will find that there is a higher concentration of nutrients in gelato.

This doesn’t mean that one can live on gelato alone (or milk). However, it is interesting to highlight that gelato does have important nutritional value. It’s nice to know that there is a food out there that is so delicious yet good for you!