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

22 March 2016

Question

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? Thanks for your fabulous work! I love your show and am a long-time listener!

Answer

We put Margaret's question to nutrition expert Toni Steer, after taking guesses from the panel... 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 - Um. a kilo.

Chris - He's 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 evenings. No it's just a rough guess.

Chris - Chris?

Chris Basu - Well it depends on the ice cream.

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

Chris Basu - Exactly. If you get really dense like Cornish clotted cream. I don't know. I need to know more information.

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

Dave - what do you think? You don't like dairy things do you so.

Toni - what do you think?

Toni - I think that's 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, you'd need 7-800 grams of ice cream.

Chris - Ah, Ben wasn't 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 it's probably a bad move in that respect but also I think just having ice cream in your diet means you're going to lack things like fibre, like iron and I think it's 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, it's in the water soluble phase and that's 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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