Ice cream contains additives, some of which are dangerous chemicals, so ice-cream lovers should reconsider before ingesting this frozen health threat.
Most people like ice cream. Some even love it. In fact, my brother has a heaping bowlful every night of the week and has been doing so for years. He enjoys it, but he also thinks ice cream is nutritious, as do many other people. After all, although ice cream does contain a good bit of sugar (unless it’s sugar-free ice cream), it also contains wholesome milk and eggs; and milk is a prime source of calcium and vitamin D, while eggs are an excellent source of protein.
Ice-cream lovers, however, like my brother, need to think twice before they sit down to enjoy their next bowl of their favorite ice cream because what they probably don’t know is that along with that wholesome milk and those wholesome eggs, they’re also ingesting some pretty unwholesome ingredients.
The Different Types of Additives in Processed Foods
All processed foods contain additives. An additive can be as simple as a seasoning that’s added to food to enhance its flavor, for example, salt, pepper, or cinnamon. It can also be an ingredient that’s added to increase a food’s nutritive value, for example, vitamin D or vitamin A. Then again, an additive can be a chemical added to increase the coloration in a food; a preservative that gives a food a longer shelf life; or an ingredient that changes a food’s texture. For example, according to Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, some additives “keep bread from molding, pudding from separating, and shortening from spoiling,” while others “help food thicken, gel, spread, or brown” (p. 360).
Many Ice Creams Not Fit for Human Consumption
In an article for Natural News, Nancy Piscatello relates, “Many commercial ice creams today are simply chemical concoctions presented in appealing packaging designed to sell a product that is not fit for human consumption. Everything from hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and dry milk solids are used to produce something still allowed to be called ice cream.” (2008)
The Unhealthy Additives in Commercial Ice Creams
Store-bought ice cream, according to Piscatello, contains additives like propylene glycol, ethyl acetate, yellow dye #5, in addition to the following:
- Caroxymethyl cellulose
- Amyl acetate
- Mono and diglicerides
- Disodium phosphate
- Benzyl acetate
- Mono stearate
- Propylene glycol
- Sodium benzoate
- Polysorbate 80
- Potassium sorbate
Yum, but those ingredients sure sound tasty, don’t they? Then again, store-bought ice cream also contains modified corn starch and soy lecithin, but at least these two ingredients are recognizable and neither is considered even remotely hazardous to one’s health (Piscatello, 2008).
The Dangerous Chemicals Found in Ice Cream
Even worse, says Piscatello, than the additives listed above are the “dangerous chemicals” found in most grocery-store ice creams, including:
- Diethyl glycol, used in anti-freeze and paint remover
- Aldehyde C-17, an inflammable liquid used in dyes, plastics, and rubber
- Piperonal, a lice killer
- Ethyl Acetate, used to clean leather and textiles (Its vapor has been associated with chronic lung, liver, and heart damage.)
Homemade Ice Cream is the Healthy Choice
Considering the “unwholesomeness” of most packaged ice creams, what can ice-cream lovers like my brother do, short of giving up their favorite frozen confection, that is? They can make their own, that’s what. Homemade ice cream, after all, doesn’t contain additives and dangerous chemicals because it truly is made from all natural ingredients, namely milk, eggs, sugar, cream, fresh fruit, and nonchemical flavorings like pure vanilla extract.
What’s more, making your own ice cream isn’t really all that difficult, at least not since the invention of the electric ice-cream freezer, although most recipes can be adapted so that you don’t need even one. All you need is the freezer compartment in your refrigerator. That said, why not make some homemade ice cream today and enjoy a genuine treat instead of a potential threat to your health and that of your family?
- Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1989) New York: Golden Press
- Piscatello, N. (2008) “Harmful Chemicals Turn Ice Cream from a Treat to a Threat,” retrieved February 14, 2011 from natural.news.com