Ice cream, the creamy frozen treat loved by many, has often been accused of being a major culprit of weight gain. But is there any truth to this claim?
In this article, we will look at the relationship between ice cream and weight gain to help you better understand the facts. Let’s get into the details!
Ice Cream & Weight Gain
Ice cream alone does not directly lead to weight gain contrary to what many people believe. The main factor behind weight gain is consuming more calories than your body needs.
While ice cream can be high in calories, it is the overall balance of your diet and lifestyle that plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight. A healthy weight is achieved by routinely eating an appropriate level of calories to maintain your weight while factoring in your activity level.
In order to determine the amount of calories you should consume to maintain or lose weight, we suggest using a calorie counter calculator such as this one from Healthline.
The Healthline calculator allows you to add your sex, age, height, current weight, and activity level to provide estimated calorie intake figures to maintain weight, lose weight, or lose weight fast.
Based on the data I entered into the calculator, it indicated I could eat up to 2,775 calories daily to maintain my current weight. So, if I consistently consumed over 2,775 calories I am going to gain weight regardless of where those calories come from.
In theory, someone could have a diet that consisted of only eating ice cream and they still could lose weight if their calorie intake was in check. Of course, eating only ice cream on a daily basis would be extremely unhealthy given its sugar, saturated fat, and other factors. You could run into serious health problems by overconsuming ice cream, including serious issues like heart disease.
Personal Experience: Ice Cream & Weight Gain
Let me quickly tell you about my own experience with ice cream as it relates to weight gain.
I have eaten ice cream for about 50 of the past 60 days for personal pleasure and for articles for this website. I have not gained any weight during this period.
There are a few reasons why I have been able to keep the fat off while still enjoying my favorite ice cream flavor.
The first is portion control. I have limited my ice cream intake to about the 2/3 to 3/4 cup per day. Over those 60 days I never went back for seconds even though there have been many days where I certainly had the urge.
Another factor has been that I have been eating relatively healthy outside of the ice cream. Sure, I’ll slip up here and there but for the most part my diet has been only foods like lean meats, eggs, veggies, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, and other clean foods.
I think the biggest factor of all has been exercising involving both cardio and/or strength training for four to five days a week. Of course, this burns calories and helps make up for when you slip and eat too much or indulge in sweets like ice cream.
Now, let’s talk about the other side of the coin. In the past, ice cream has certainly contributed to me being overweight.
When I was much heavier, I was exercising much less, if at all, and not really worrying about my portion sizes at meals, including dessert. I can remember several times of filling up my bowl high with ice cream or finishing off a full pint.
This behavior undoubtedly help contribute to my weight gain but it wasn’t specifically the ice cream that was making me fat. It was the general overeating and lack of sufficient exercise that did it!
The above wasn’t some lame flex about weight loss. Rather, it was designed to reinforce that you can still enjoy ice cream and not become fat from it.
It is simply about portion control and being mindful about what you eat so that you don’t exceed your maintenance calories on a daily basis. Exercising helps by assisting in burning calories and allowing you to potentially eat a little less strict.
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Calories In Ice Cream
The calories in ice cream can vary greatly based on type and flavor. Generally, something like plain vanilla will have fewer calories compared to an ice cream loaded with mix-ins such as candy or cookies.
Below are examples of the calories in 2/3 cup serving of a selection of flavors made by various brands. In short, not all ice cream products are the same in regard to calories.
You may wish to review the nutrition facts of an ice cream before you buy it if you are watching your calories.
- Edy’s Slow Churned (Light) Cookie Dough – 170 Calories
- Hudsonville Blue Moon – 170 Calories
- Breyer’s Homemade Vanilla – 180 calories
- Edy’s Original Rocky Road – 210 calories
- Publix Mint Chocolate Chip – 220 calories
- Blue Bunny Salted Caramel Craze – 220 calories
Ice cream itself does not directly lead to weight gain. It’s the overall balance of your diet and lifestyle that determines your weight. Practicing portion control, choosing healthier alternatives, and incorporating physical activity into your routine are excellent ways to maintain a healthy weight.
So, next time you’re craving a scoop of your favorite ice cream, remember that enjoying it in moderation and being mindful of your overall diet and lifestyle choices is what truly matters. Stay balanced, stay healthy, and savor the sweetness of life!
Note: This article is written to provide general information and should not replace professional medical or dietary advice. If you have specific concerns or health conditions, it’s always recommended to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian.