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.