Ice-cream is one of the most favorite milk based dessert. For some it’s a reward for scoring well in exams, for some it is to celebrate a special moment and some eat it leisurely as a source of calcium. But can this dairy product contribute to your daily calcium requirements and maintain your bone strength? Let’s find out -
Ice-cream is made by churning and chilling a mixture containing high-fat milk or cream, fructose or glucose-based sweeteners, usually in the form of corn syrup, and flavorings such as vanilla or chocolate. When the mixture freezes, it develops the rich, creamy consistency of ice-cream.
The nutritional content of different type of ice-creams varies but in general it is an energy dense food. It mainly comprises of carbohydrates and fats. Half a cup of ice-cream contains 15-18 gms of carbohydrates and 7-10 gms of fat. Half a cup of vanilla ice-cream provides 137 calories, as compared to 1 glass of skimmed milk which has 93 calories majorly providing good quality protein.
Ice-cream is a high-fat food, since it must contain greater than 10 percent milk fat to be designated ice-cream, with some products having as much as 16 percent. Milk fat is largely cholesterol, a saturated fat. When your blood cholesterol level is too high, it can build up as plaque, a fatty deposit in your arteries that interferes with blood flow and raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. Ice-cream is also high in sugar, which makes up the majority of its carbohydrate content. Consuming too much sugar may contribute to health problems such as weight gain, cavities and increased levels of blood triglycerides, another unhealthy type of fat.
According to experts, foods made from milk which have little to no calcium, such as full cream milk cheese, butter, ice-cream are not considered part of the dairy group. These products contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat and if consumed on regular basis can increase risk of lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, weight gain etc. To lower your risk for high cholesterol and sugar-related problems, consume ice-cream in moderation or chose low fat substitutes. Some ice-cream substitutes like frozen desserts are marketed as a low fat low calorie product but these can be high in sugar containing as high as 40 gms of sugar. So, the rule of thumb is to eat your favorite scoop in moderation and pick healthy milk derivatives like low fat milk, low fat cottage cheese, curd and buttermilk to complete your daily calcium requirement.