Does Ice Cream Make You Fat?

three bowls of various ice creams
Does Ice Cream Make You Fat? (Image: Magone/iStock/GettyImages)

Creamy, sweet, cold and refreshing, ice cream contains some protein and calcium; it also contains a large amount of fat and sugar, which drives up the calorie content of the treat. Because of that, ice cream is definitely a food that makes you gain weight it you eat too much of it.

Calorie Count

The calories in ice cream per 1/2-cup serving of the vanilla flavor amounts to 137 along with 7.2 grams of fat, of which about 4.5 grams are saturated. The same amount of chocolate ice cream has 143 calories and 7.3 grams of fat, of which 4.5 are saturated. Many of these calories come from the added sugar and high fat content in traditional ice cream. Regularly eating foods high in sugar and fat can lead to weight gain.

It's Addictive

Many people regularly experience sugar cravings which is one of the reasons it's so hard to stick to a healthy diet. Cravings are created by your brain's need for comfort and pleasure — not for your body's need for food. If you succumb to the tendency to binge on sugary foods and are tempted into eating ice cream for dinner to satiate your desire, the piling up of pounds will likely be the result, according to Heathline.

Making It Work

Because of the calorie and sugar content, regularly eating too much ice cream has side effects that you'll notice when you stand on the scale. Instead reserve ice cream as a special treat every once in a while. When you do have ice cream, go for low-fat, fat-free or sugar-free versions, which will help satisfy your desire for something sweet, but with fewer calories than traditional versions. A 1/2 cup of no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream, for example, contains 137 calories. Reduced-fat chocolate ice cream has 93 calories per 1/2-cup serving.

Choose These Instead

Frozen yogurt sounds healthier than ice cream, and in some cases it might be, but traditional versions contain slightly fewer calories, but even more sugar. A 1/2-cup serving of frozen yogurt contains 110 calories and almost 17 grams of sugar. A 1/2-cup serving of sherbet is a better and lower-calorie option with 107 calories. To cut calories even more, as well as take in more nutrients, such as potassium, freeze a small banana and then puree it in the blender. The result will be a creamy, frozen, naturally sweet treat, similar to ice cream, that contains fewer than 100 calories.

Calcium and Weight Loss

If you are predisposed to a high waist circumference, you may benefit from an association with weight management and the calcium content in ice cream. Researchers at the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Denmark, found that calcium may have a slimming effect because calcium binds fatty acids in the gastrointestinal tract. Findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014, suggested this could result in a decrease in the absorption of fat which could lead to weight loss over time.

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