SHERYL AFONSO e D’SOUZA
CLINICAL NUTRITIONIST (NORBERT’S FITNESS STUDIO) & ASST. PROFESSOR (POST GRADUATE DEGREE STUDIES, CARMEL COLLEGE)
Ice cream, a sweetened frozen snack typically eaten as a dessert, is usually made from dairy products and often combined with fruits, nuts, colors, and flavors in addition to stabilizers. Delicious and best enjoyed during the hot summer months, ice cream is a high-calorie, high fat food. Often described as an “empty calorie” dessert, nutritionists recommend a control on the amount of ice cream consumed in a day or week. An ‘empty calorie’ food is one that provides energy primarily in the form of sugar and fat – both of which are present in high concentrations in ice creams. Arguments will arise in favor of the dairy component of ice cream, dairy being a source of bone-strengthening calcium and protein. However, the amount of sugar and fat in an ice cream outweighs the benefits that dairy offers.
Enjoying your treat in moderation is the key. Keep portion sizes in mind. A serving of ice cream is about 100 g, but we definitely serve ourselves more than that at one sitting. One scoop of ice cream provides anywhere between 250 and 350 kcal and 14 to 25 g of fat! The fat component accounts for more than half of the dietary fat recommendation for an adult!!! The add-ons such as nuts, chocolate chips, dry fruits, add very slight nutritional value to the entire product. The market is flooded with varieties and types of ice creams and ice cream-like desserts. Gaining knowledge about them may help you choose differently, thereby making a healthier impact on your life.
- Like the name suggests, ice cream is a frozen product made from cream. Milk is often added to the mixture as well as other flavorings and sweeteners. Ice creams are further categorized based on the amount of butterfat they contain.
- Premium Ice Cream has between 11% and 15% butterfat. While this ice cream is richer and denser, you pay for it in the calorie count.
- Regular ice cream is somewhat less dense and contains 10% to 11% butterfat.
- Economy Ice Cream has exactly 10% butterfat by law.
- Light Ice Cream often means that there is either 50% less fat or 33% fewer calories than the regular ice cream produced by that particular company. But read the labels carefully to ensure that you aren’t being fooled by the term ‘lite’ or ‘light’.
- Reduced Fat Ice Cream is required by law to have 25% less fat than that particular company’s regular version.
- The difference between gelato and ice cream is in the amount of air that is whipped into the product – 20% air for gelato and up to 60% air for ice cream. The result is a denser and more intensely flavored dessert (gelato).
- Sorbet is a frozen dessert that is made from fruit purée and can include the flavorings of herbs and spices. It is then whipped to lighten its texture. Sorbet contains no milk.
- Sherbet is a fruit based product, but milk is added for creaminess. But by law it can contain no more than 2% butterfat.
- Granita is very similar to sorbet but granita is not whipped and ice crystals are allowed to form. It has a more granular appearance, and a crunchy texture.
Parents are often worried that their children will ‘fall sick’ or ‘catch a cold’ if they eat an ice cream. You should know by now that the common cold is caused by a group of viruses called rhinovirus, and there’s no way that an ice cream contains that virus!!!! However, one possibility is that in some people, dairy produce can lead to an increased production of mucus in the upper respiratory and nasal passages. Although the function of this mucus is to protect the delicate lining of this part of the body, too much mucus can encourage infection and also, lead to blockage of the sinus opening and the Eustachian tube which drains mucus from the middle ear to the back of your throat. The net effect could be nasal congestion.
Ice creams may not be recommended for those who are diabetic, have hypertension, high cholesterol and high triglycerides. And as long as you and your family follow a balanced dietary plan through the rest of the day – healthy inclusions of vegetables, pulses, and whole grain cereals at meals and nuts, fruits, and dairy at snack-time – you are allowed to make an allowance for a measured ice cream treat in the day!