None can say no to an ice cream, more so, if it’s summer. Ice creams have a way of cooling both our bodies and minds. With its myriad colors, tastes, textures and flavors, ice creams have us under its spell in no time!
Ice cream is perhaps the most popular food that easily allows for adding synthetic or artificial flavors or colors, which can be deadly in large amounts. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while having ice creams.
Best time to have
Like for everything else, there is a right time to have ice creams. Eating ice creams in the afternoon is not a very healthy habit, say doctors. It is not a good idea to have it when the body is all heated up and you are sweating profusely. The risk for a bacterial infection or illness is quite high when the body temperature is hot.
Conditions like tonsillitis, sinusitis, cold, throat infections, etc., are most likely to occur in such situations. It is better to have ice creams before noon. After you have it, take care to be indoors and not to go out directly into the sun or indulge in any heavy works. It is not good as an after dinner treat too as it will result in weight gain. Ice creams during winter should be avoided.
How much to have
The high sugar content in ice cream itself is the challenging factor here. For a normal healthy individual, the daily requirement of sugar for the body is just 25 gm, which is equal to about five tsp sugar. The calorie intake from this is about 100. Meanwhile, in one cup ice cream there is close to 4 to 5 tsp of sugar, which is 400 to 500 calories. The excess sugar gets converted to fat in the body. When there is no exercise or adequate fiber intake, this will affect the body adversely. Certain ice cream manufacturers add syrup to increase the sugar content. This is actually corn syrup that has huge levels of fructose. It is certainly not good for the normal functioning of the body.
Having ice cream daily is quite bad for the body. An affinity to high sugar foods increases the serotonin levels in the body. This could make the body more energetic, but mostly will lead to unfavorable behavioral traits or attention deficiency in children. Too much fat in the body can lead to obesity, make a person sluggish and even cause heart ailments. Not more than two cups any twice a week is the safe amount to have, advise doctors.
How to have
Always have small spoonfuls and have it slowly. Ice cream is often stored at minus 27 degrees in the freezer. This is not a temperature level that is beneficial for our body. So, leave it in the mouth for some safe time before taking it in. Biting into frozen slabs of ice cream or chewing is extremely bad for dental health as well. The cold temperature may even lead to throat infections. There is a myth that having a glass of warm or hot water after consuming ice cream is a healthy habit for the body. This is in fact not true and is bad for the throat.
What type to have
There are a number of ice creams in different types and brands in the market these days. Remember that all ice creams are not necessarily ‘ice creams’ although they all lure us with their tastes and flavors. Never go for cheap versions and buy only from reputed brands. It is better to have ice creams mixed with fruit salads. In this way, the body gets the fiber content and antioxidants in fruits. Some artificial colors added to make ice creams attractive could cause diseases like cancer. Avoid brightly colored varieties. Opt for the brands that have more milk content than edible vegetable oils and those that are free of preservatives. Ice creams are quite easy to make at home and this is definitely the healthier alternative to give to your family.
Dr. B. Padmakumar
HOD, Department of Medicine
Government Medical College, Kollam