Science Questions

How much ice-cream would I need to eat to get my daily source of dairy?

Tue, 22nd Mar 2016

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Margaret Feaster asked:

I was wondering, if all my dairy nutrition were to come from ice cream, how much ice cream would I need to eat each day?


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We put Margaret's question to nutrition expert Toni Steer, after taking guesses from the panel... Ice cream

Chris - Ben what do you think.  How much ice cream do you think she has to eat to supply her daily nutritional intake from ice cream alone?

Ben - UmÖ a kilo.

Chris - Heís going a kilo, okay.  Is that based on any kind of personal experience or have you just plucked that out the freezer?

Ben - Maybe one or two depressed eveningsÖ No itís just a rough guess.

Chris - Chris?

Chris Basu - Well it depends on the ice creamÖ

Chris - Well yes, if itís got chocolate chip in there itís a bit more calories in there...

Chris Basu - Exactly.  If you get really dense like Cornish clotted creamÖ  I donít know. I need to know more information.

Chris - Okay.  Chris is unhappy with the data supplied.

Dave - what do you think?  You donít like dairy things do you soÖ

Toni - what do you think?

Toni - I think thatís going to be a little bit tricky, so I think I read it that she was talking about dairy nutrition in the context of calcium.  So just to start with that, for example, the average calcium content of a vanilla dairy ice cream is around about 100 mg of calcium per 100 grams.  An adult requirement is 7-800 mg of calcium per day so, even to achieve that, youíd need 7-800 grams of ice cream.

Chris - Ah, Ben wasnít far out. He was quite close.  He was pretty good, yes.

Toni - Not bad.  But the disadvantages with doing something like that I can see immediately is thing like the sugar content. So, looking at an average vanilla ice cream, the sugar content in 7-800 mls of that ice cream is something like 150-160 grams of sugar.  Now considering the recommendations for added sugars are no more than 30 grams a day, that takes you way over so itís probably a bad move in that respect but also I think just having ice cream in your diet means youíre going to lack things like fibre, like iron and I think itís going to set you up for some trouble.

Dave - 7-800 mls seems an awful lot because you expect ice cream to be concentrated milk.  Is that because the calciums not in the cream part of the milk?

Toni - So the calcium, yes, itís in the water soluble phase and thatís quite interesting really because people often say to me look, if I switch from full fat milk to semi-skimmed, am I going to lose out on my calcium?  And actually the answer is no.  What happens is once you remove the fat you get slightly more calcium in semi-skimmed milk.  Not a lot, but slightly more, and then again for skimmed milk as well.



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The US RDA for Calcium
Age 50+
Male: 1000 mg
Female: 1200 mg

If one considered milk as one's primary source of Calcium, then:

Vanilla Ice Cream, 1 cup, 176 mg Ca.  1200/176 mg = 6.8 cups of Ice Vanilla Ice Cream.
Cheddar Cheese, 204 mg / oz.  1200/204 = 5.9 oz
Nonfat Yogurt, 200 mg / 6 oz  6*6 = 36 oz
Lowfat Plain Yogurt 400mg / 8 oz  3*8 = 24 oz
Milk, 300 mg / cup 1200/300 = 4 cups milk.

Obviously there are other foods that contain some calcium, and one can take it in a number of forms.  Milk and milk products also have other nutrient value.
CliffordK, Mon, 26th Jan 2015

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