Thursday, January 26, 2012

Could Ice Cream be a Superfood?

One of the ways I try to promote health in my household is to limit the consumption of desserts, such as ice cream and cookies.  I have read time and again how eating too many sweets can contribute to many health problems.  So for years, I have limited desserts to rare occasions.

But last week I learned something astounding: ice cream is the food that most closely resembles breastmilk Check out the following comparison from 180 Degree Health:
% fat –
Ice cream – 53%
Breast Milk – 55%

% sugar –
Ice Cream – 39.8%
Breast Milk – 38.7%

% Protein
Ice Cream – 7.3%
Breast Milk – 6.3%

% Saturated Fat
Ice cream – 57%
Breast milk – 45%

% Monounsaturated Fat
Ice Cream – 27%
Breast Milk – 38%

% Polyunsaturated Fat
Ice Cream – 3.5%
Breast Milk – 9.7%

% Omega 3 fatty acids
Ice Cream – 1.38%
Breast Milk – 1.19%

% Omega 6 fatty acids
Ice Cream – 2.2%
Breast Milk – 8.5%

Calcium per 100 calories
Ice Cream – 59 mg
Breast Milk – 46 mg

Cholesterol per 100 calories
Ice Cream – 40 mg
Breast Milk – 20 mg
So breastmilk and ice cream are surprisingly similar in their nutrient composition (and this comparison uses a high-fat ice cream, like Haagen Daz)!  Obviously, there are many things in breastmilk that babies need (such as antibodies and probiotics), so ice cream is no substitute for breastmilk for an infant.  But what about kids who have already weaned? 

Give the Kids (and Pregnant Ladies) Some Ice Cream!
The nutritional comparison shows that ice cream could indeed be a superb growth-promoting food. In particular, children, pregnant ladies, and nursing mothers could potentially benefit from eating more ice cream.

I found this comparison shocking, to say the least. It has really gotten my head spinning. One thing is for sure: I'm going to be making lots of ice cream!  There will be more ice cream for every member of our household, from my small-for-age daughter to my low-weight husband to myself who provides milk for an avid-nursing-toddler. This is one change that will be embraced by us all. Mmmm, raw cream, honey, egg yolks, wow!  I'd better get to churning. 

Do you find the nutritional comparison to breastmilk to be surprising?  Will you be allowing more ice cream for your kids?  How about trying some homemade mint ice cream, blackberry ice cream, vanilla chocolate chip ice cream, or strawberry ice cream?

This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fat Tuesday, Seasonal Celebration, Monday Mania and Fight Back Friday!


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a comparison! I have never been a huge ice cream fan, but after having removed it completely from my diet I find myself missing it now and then. This may just be the push I need to try my hand at homemade ice cream...perhaps homemade mint ice cream!

Laura said...

I LOVE homemade ice cream! We make it all the time in our ice cream maker. It's so easy and you can change it up and make all different kinds of flavors. We sweeten ours with a little pure stevia extract, honey or maybe some pure maple syrup. Add lots of cream and throw in different toppings towards the end like blueberries or almonds. Yum! Lately we have also been making it with coconut milk. The consistency is wonderful..... okay now I am hungry for some ice cream and it's 9:00am in the morning! Plus I am pregnant, and ice cream is one of my major cravings... guess I know what I am making for dessert tonight :)

Natalia said...

Wow! Why have I been avoiding ice cream all this time? No wonder I was craving it all the time when I was pregnant. Your body does know best.
Is there a way to make ice cream at home without ice cream maker?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE ice cream but store bought is just loaded with sugar and I can't afford to buy an ice cream maker right now.

Danielle said...

Best post ever! I am in the same boat as Natalia, though - no ice cream maker. Any ideas for those of us in that boat?

Sarah Smith said...

Without a machine, follow the instructions here to make your own ice cream:

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Maybe that explains why it's such a comfort food too. Ice cream for dessert tonight! :)


Anonymous said...

One of the best parts about ice cream is all the good stuff you can hide in it. When I make ice cream I always add trace minerals and even powdered probiotic. Even spirulina can be added to get that great green color!

Anonymous said...

We're doing GAPS but today was the first time (in 7.5 and 11 years!) that my boys have ever had anything like ice cream. We made frozen yogurt using a variation of your mint ice cream recipe. Thank you! They were in heaven. Finally, to be able to have a frozen, sweet treat like other kids. GAPS has rocked our world!

Tom and Juli said...

Wow that's amazing! I had no idea... thanks for sharing. My husband is a huge ice cream fan, so this will be a good excuse to have it every once in a while.


Natural Mothers Network said...

Wow what a great post and really thought provoking. Strangely I've only just finished writing an ice cream post myself- a recipe for mango sorbet using Alphonso mango that are in season right now- strictly not a sorbet as it has creme fraiche in it but there you go!
I'm hosting a weekly linky which is all about seasonal celebration and would love it if you popped over and linked this post! It would be great to introduce your blog to my readership! Seasonal Celebration Linky Really hope to see you there! Rebecca x

Natural Mothers Network said...

Sarah thank you very much for placing this excellent post on Natural Mothers Network's linky: Seasonal Celebration! You helped make Seasonal Celebration a wealth of intelligent, creative and resourceful information and it's been such a pleasure for me and many others to read through each post. I am really looking forward to seeing you again Sunday evening or Monday! Rebecca x

James Knochel said...

Most ice creams are thickened with "gum" - carob bean gum, guar gum, carageenan, etc. These are used to give skim milk the texture of cream.

Haagen Daaz is the only widely available ice cream that is not adulterated with thickeners. Their 5-ingredient ice creams are really good. I think Julie's Organics are good ice creams too, but I don't have a container in front of me right now to verify.

I've taken to topping my brownies with Clover whipped cream (from pasteured cows in Northern California). This has a beautiful yellow tinge that indicates large amounts of Vitamin A, and the carton says it's only pasteurized, NOT ultra-pasteurized like most whipped creams.

Sarah Smith said...

You are absolutely right, James. Most of the store ice cream is loaded with undesirable additives. Even the Julie's isn't great in that regard. Haagen Daz is the only one I'll buy, and I usually make homemade ice cream with raw cream instead.

James Knochel said...

Yeah, looked at the Julie's ice cream bars at the store last night, and they had both carbob bean and guar gum. Very disappointing...

I'm sure I've seen another brand besides Haagen-Daaz that was acceptable, I just don't remember what it is.

Maria said...

Apparently, all commercial ice-cream (even Haagen Daz) has propylene glycol in them. It keeps the ice cream from turning rock hard. Sarah the Healthy Home Economist wrote an article on this "Antifreeze in Your Ice Cream", a very interesting article you may want to check out sometime.

Sarah Smith said...

Good thing we make our own at home instead!

Anonymous said...

I either make home-made ice cream or we buy the Straus brand (also made with grass-fed cream). My son LOVES eating ice cream as a meal - especially for breakfast - and he regularly tells me he feels like he needs it.

Mindy said...

I have been on GAPS for a month now and am enjoying eating ice cream almost everyday! I make mine with kefir and kefired cream (creme fraiche/ sour cream). With the addition of raw honey and fruits, the final product is a LIVING, probiotic, enzyme-packed, ice cream full of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Feel guilty having it so often. But then I remind myself of the ingredients! I want it for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert. LOL

Mariza said...

Is this a dream! This is the most beautiful post I've ever read! I think I manifested this! thank you thank you! I love ice cream, but haven't had it in so long. I'll learn how to make my ice cream! Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I can't help but be the devil's advocate here. Ice cream and breast milk, the same....really? Sure, the numbers seem to add up but when you break it down, they are obviously very different for many reasons. For one, the sugar in breast milk is lactose where as the sugar in ice cream is not only milk sugar but mostly straigh up sugar. Two: I have never seen ice cream made with raw milk which is the biggest difference of all. Saturated fats, cholesterol, etc can be toxic to your body when heated to the point of pasturization. Correct me if I'm wrong but unless you make your own ice cream with grass fed raw milk and no additonal sugar, conventional ice cream is not a superfood.

Sarah Smith said...

That is why I make homemade ice cream using raw cream and milk (sometimes kefir), raw yolks, and unrefined sweetener (like honey or maple syrup). We only occasionally eat store ice cream, usually only Haagen Daz at my mom's house. For me, the lightbulb was that dessert isn't necessarily unhealthy in-and-of-itself and that I shouldn't worry so much about restricting sweets quite so much as we have for years.

For people that don't make their own ice cream, I still think high-fat ice cream (like Haagen Daz) is a much better choice than storebought baked desserts (usually loaded with preservatives and refined flour/sugar) or even "organic" boxed cookies, etc.

Anna said...

The problem is ice cream doesn't have the trace minerals, immune factors, etc., that breast milk does. It's also very difficult for some types (Vata in ayurveda for example) to digest. Very mucous forming...