Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast and other unnecessary food holidays

Last week someone shared this tweet from the Cleveland Clinic:

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Not ideal from a provider of healthcare. I’m sure many children are getting more sugar from breakfast cereal and juice in the morning but that doesn’t excuse the fact that ice cream is not a balanced breakfast and the Cleveland Clinic should know better.

That got me to thinking about food holidays. It seems to me that most of these holidays promote unhealthy foods, foods that really need no promotion. I decided to do a little number crunching.

Based on the food holidays listed on Foodimentary, I added up all of the food holidays, all of the holidays promoting unhealthy choices, and all of the holidays promoting healthy foods. Out of 475 food holidays, 250 were for unhealthy foods (e.g. candy, doughnuts), and 81 were for healthy foods (e.g. kale, almonds). Do we really need all of these days devoted to promoting treats? How about we start a new calendar of food holidays promoting a different whole food every day? We don’t need to encourage anyone to eat ice cream, especially not for breakfast.

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Ice cream vs gelato vs frozen yoghurt…

I was going to do a little table showing a comparison of ice cream, gelato, frozen yoghurt, sorbet, sherbet, and frozen custard. I thought that it would be fairly straight forward. After all, gelato is supposedly healthier than ice cream, frozen yoghurt should have fewer calories but more sugar, and frozen custard should be off the charts. Not so much. There is way too much variation among each type of frozen dessert that I’ve abandoned my original plan. Some brands of gelato contain cream (although the purported reason that it’s healthier than ice cream is because it’s made with milk rather than cream) and many types of ice cream are made with “modified milk ingredients” rather than cream. The world of frozen desserts is complex and confusing. If you’re buying yours in the grocery store, take the time to check the ingredients and the nutrition info panel. Always try to buy things with as few ingredients as possible. You’re probably going to have to choose between fat and sugar or enjoyment, as if it’s high in one, it’s likely low in the other and if it’s low in both it’s probably not all that tasty. If you’re buying it as a single serving from a corner store, ice cream stand, gelateria, where ever nutrition information is not available, keep in mind that even if you get the small, you’re probably getting at least two servings worth. If you can, opt for the kiddie cone. I know how good the waffle cone is. I’m not going to lie to you, I always go for the waffle cone; bear in mind that I don’t go for ice cream all that often. A waffle cone is about 160 kcal, just for the cone! A sugar cone is about 50 kcal, and a regular ice cream cone is only about 20 kcal. If you want to cut even more calories, go for a scoop in an inedible bowl. Don’t let all these concerns take the fun out of it. Enjoy that frozen treat!