On a hot summer day, many of us line up for ice cream, but is ice cream good for you? It so happens that some ice creams are healthier than others depending on the ingredients therein. This article, therefore, tells you everything you need to know about ice cream.
Although there are some low fat and no-added-sugar ice creams marketed, most ice creams are calorie-dense, high in added sugar, low in nutrients, and contain artificial ingredients.
Let’s start by figuring out the common ingredients in ice cream.
What are the main ingredients in ice cream?
The main ingredients in typical ice cream are milk, sugar, vegetable fat, flavor, and sometimes food coloring.
In some ice creams, there are stabilizers that are used to extend the life of ice cream. Emulsifiers such as egg yolks are used to keep the ice cream smooth.
What are the benefits of eating ice cream?
Ice cream has numerous health benefits and they include;
1. Source of essential vitamins.
Ice cream is packed with plenty of vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, B6, B12, and E attributed to the presence of milk in ice cream. Additionally, ice cream contains vitamin K which is essential in preventing blood from clotting.
These are essential vitamins needed for improved eyesight, healthy skin, and keeping blood cells and nerves healthy among other benefits.
2. Ice cream makes your bones stronger.
Calcium present in ice cream has bone-strengthening abilities. Eating ice cream can make your bones stronger and healthy. About 99% of our bones are made up of calcium therefore ice cream plays an important role in bone health.
Additionally, Calcium and phosphorus help build stronger teeth.
3. It reduces the risk of certain cancers.
Some women that are diagnosed with breast cancer often have a calcium deficiency.
Ice cream is a great source of calcium and thus eating it can help lower the risk of getting breast cancer.
Additionally, calcium protects people from developing polyps that lead to colon cancer. With calcium content in ice cream, it can reduce the risk of certain cancers.
4. Ice cream can help fight infertility.
Adults that consume full-fat milk or ice cream may have high chances of having a baby compared to those that don’t.
The high phosphorous content in ice cream can boost libido by keeping the testosterone levels in check and maintain one’s sexual arousal.
Why is ice cream bad for you?
Eating ice cream can have health risks as well. these include;
Ice cream is high in added sugars.
There are many health risks associated with added sugars such as a high risk of obesity, weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.
There is no doubt that ice cream has a lot of added sugars; with many varieties containing between 12-24 grams of added sugar per 65 grams which is about half a cup.
By taking two or more small servings of ice cream, you may go over the recommended limit of added sugars. This 10% of your daily calorie intake, which is about 50 grams of sugar for a 2,000-calorie diet.
Ice cream is among the empty calorie foods.
Ice cream is highly processed and packed with lots of calories yet has a few nutrients besides calcium and phosphorous. This means that you are getting calories that have no essential nutrients for the body.
If you decide to replace nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables with ice cream, you might get a deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals.
It is packed with lots of calories.
In a small serving of ice cream of about 665- 90 grams, you can get to around 120-210 calories. Since ice cream is not satisfying and is kind of addictive, you might enjoy more than one serving which may more than double the calories consumed.
These too many calories can lead to weight gain when they aren’t burned. Ice cream is also not weight loss friendly as it is not linked to any weight loss benefit like making you feel satisfied and suppressing appetite. Instead, the added sugars in ice cream make you crave more.
Additionally, ice cream has a lot of carbs with a single pint having about 120 grams of carbs. Though our body burns carbs for fuel, too many carbs in the body cannot be used. When carbs aren’t used by the body, they are stored as fat leading to weight gain.
Some varieties contain unhealthy additives.
Not all ice creams, but some contain artificial additives and flavors which have health risks to our bodies. Several artificial flavorings have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as some pose life-threatening risks such as cancer.
Although approved by the FDA, processed ice creams have artificial food colorings such as Red No.3 (erthrosine) and Blue No.2 (indigo carmine) which are linked to hyperactivity and behavioral issues in children.
Ice cream is not energy boosting.
After making ice cream, you will feel sluggish and lazy instead of feeling energized. Since the sugar in ice cream is wrapped by fat, the release of energy will be delayed as the body breaks down fat first.
Can you eat ice cream every day?
Ice cream has worthy health benefits and health risks with some being life-threatening for example obesity. Taking ice cream in moderate amounts can help you live a healthy life. However huge amounts of ice cream increase the health risks. In summary, ice cream can be healthy in small quantities and it can be unhealthy if consumed in large amounts.
Whether to eat ice cream every day will depend on the amount and ingredients consumed.
You can eat ice cream every day if it’s a small serving is made with healthy ingredients. However, if the ingredients in the ice cream are unhealthy, for example, made of refined carbs or disease-causing ingredients, then ice cream should not be taken every day.
What is the healthiest ice cream?
Regular ice cream is packed with lots of calories and added sugars that make it unhealthy. However, there are low calorie and healthy ice creams you can eat with low risks and they are;
- Halo top.
- Chilly cow
- Arctic zero.
- So Delicious Dairy Free
Does ice cream make you gain weight?
Commercially made ice cream is full of sugar and fat. A small serving of ice cream can have a lot of calories that aren’t backed with satisfying or appetite suppressing abilities.
It is very easy to consume over 1000 calories from eating ice cream since it’s not satisfying, addictive, packed with lots of calories that are stored in the form of fat by the body. In short, taking huge amounts of ice cream can cause weight gain, overweight and worst of all obesity if it’s consumed often in large quantities.
How can I stop eating ice cream?
If you find yourself getting addicted to ice cream or you think you should decrease the amounts you consume, then do the following;
- Do not stock your fridge with ice cream. Its absence will make you overcome the temptation.
- Try to distract yourself if you are craving ice cream. Engage in your favorite hobby and grab a healthy whole fruit or take cold water. It will help you overcome the temptation of ice cream craving.
- Plan ahead the foods you are going to eat during the day and don’t eat anything that is not on your plan.
- Choose fruits and vegetables for desserts to replace ice cream and pastry.
What can I eat instead of ice cream?
Many people eat ice cream on hot sunny days or as desserts after meals.
- On hot summer days, you can choose healthier choices. You can take plain yogurt, water, high protein drinks, vegetable juice, and apple cider vinegar drinks.
- For desserts, choose whole fruits, vegetables, and homemade salads that are healthy and low in calories.
The bottom line:
Ice cream can be good for you as it contains essential nutrients and minerals that are good for the body. On the other hand, huge amounts of ice cream can pose more health risks than benefits.
Therefore, moderate amounts of ice cream are recommended that is to say; one small serving of ice cream on a given day. if you are on a weight loss diet, consume fewer amounts since ice cream contains lots of calories and added sugars.
Read the articles below that explain how calories and added sugars affect weight.
What are calories and their relation to weight?
Is added sugar bad for your health