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  • Dr. Whitney Mostafiz

Ice Cream: Here's My Scoop

In honor of this very warm start to November, I decided to write about a topic I’m very passionate about: ice cream. Some people may say, what? A dentist is advocating ice cream?! But I kid you not, I have done some "research" and it is not as bad as you may think (not that I ever had to convince myself?). Remember, all in good moderation, and of course have some water and brush your teeth after you eat!

First of all, ice cream is GREAT when you have braces – you are less likely to break anything, unless you get some that has pieces of nuts or rocks or something. Also, ice cream is cold. Cold is good – some of the wires that are used in braces are heat-activated. So that means that when they are cooled (i.e. below body temperature), the wires become less active and are softer on your teeth. This holds true for Nitinol wires (or as we like to call NiTi), which are used to unravel those crooked pearly whites.

Enough about wires, and back to ice cream. According to an ABC news report, research has shown that you can LOSE weight and eat ice cream once a day! Awesome. In this autumnal heat wave, I must admit, I have been eating a lot of ice cream (and I’ve got the pics below to prove it...). So onto the science: a study was actually published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study noted that the calcium in ice cream is the key to its success. Calcium-supplements can aid in weight loss too, and particularly in the loss in body-fat. However, those eating their calcium in the form of 3-4 servings of dairy more than doubled their weight loss, and pretty much doubled their body-fat loss compared to having the supplements.

Why? Calcium depletion apparently triggers fat cells to store fat and grow. Meanwhile, ice cream also helps lower cravings and there is a decrease in binge-eating. Fat (ice cream = fat) satiates your appetite longer than carbs, too! Yes, ice cream has sugar too, but low-fat frozen yogurt options often pack in the sugar to substitute for the loss of fat content. It is also less satisfying and can lead to eating more in volume. So it can actually be higher in caloric intake than if you just went for that ice cream in the first place!

I am definitely an advocate for healthy eating, so it’s important to make sure that you choose ice cream that is homemade ideally with real ingredients. No high fructose corn syrup, artificial vanilla, mono/diglycerides, or artificial colors and flavors; go for the real deal. I also love non-dairy ice creams that are based off of cashew or coconut. However, my vendor at Ice and Vice (you MUST go; in the LES) told me that similarly, these options could have twice the amounts of sugar.

Some more benefits on why ice cream is a total go? Apparently ice cream or full-fat milk consumption increases fertility. A study showing this was performed at Harvard and published in a journal called Human Reproduction, so it must be true. But hey, any excuse to eat ice cream and I’m sold.

Nutritional benefits: ok, fine, this is a bit of a stretch. BUT… as I mentioned, ice cream is plentiful of calcium, which is important for your bones, phosphorus, potassium, B-vitamins, as well as some protein. This gives you all the energy you need to work out after having your tasty treat!

Finally, ice cream is love. It just makes you happy! A study at the Institute of Psychiatry actually showed that ice cream really truly does make you happy. These people saw activation of the orbitofrontal cortex, which is a pleasure center of the brain. This activation apparently even makes your skin glow! Furthermore, a study done by a neurologist from Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation (yes this place REALLY exists!) showed that ice cream can even increase arousal.

Have I convinced you yet? Go get yourself some ice cream now! Here are some of my favorite scoops from the ever-continuing summer:

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