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Quiz: The sweet truth about ice cream

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What has the greatest calorie count?

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What has the greatest calorie count?

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Looking at the menu of one popular high street fast food chain, an ice cream dessert option with chocolate was lowest in calories of the four choices at 340 calories and 13g fat.

 

Next came the savoury choices:

Double cheeseburger at 440 calories and 23g fat

Large fries at 460 calories and 23g fat

 

Highest in calories was the large strawberry milkshake at 490 calories and 9g fat.

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On average, how much ice cream is eaten per person in the UK each year?

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On average, how much ice cream is eaten per person in the UK each year?

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Ice cream is a popular treat, with the UK licking its way through 9 litres of it per head a year. But we're licked by the Americans who get through 20 litres a year!

 

Although the weather is usually warmer the further south you go, people in Scotland and Northern Ireland eat more ice cream on average than those in England and Wales.

A scoop of light ice cream is better for you than ordinary ice cream.

A scoop of light ice cream is better for you than ordinary ice cream.

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It is possible to find options weighing in at below 100 kcal and around 3g fat per serving. However, just because it says 'diet' or 'light' on the label doesn't always make it the best choice. The tricky part is comparing the options and the serving sizes.

 

Mini and diet options often vary in size, but small may not always be best. To help with comparisons shop bought ice cream treats have to say how many calories and fat there are if you were to eat 100g of the product, even if the serving size is smaller or bigger.

 

The same is true of a tub of ice cream, but who actually weighs how much they scoop out into a bowl?

The UK's favourite ice cream flavour is:

The UK's favourite ice cream flavour is:

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Chocolate, caramel, strawberry cheesecake and pistachio can't compete with the mighty vanilla. This classic flavour is chosen 9 times out of 10.

What triggers a "brain freeze" or ice cream headache? (or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia to give its scientific name!)

What triggers a "brain freeze" or ice cream headache? (or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia to give its scientific name!)

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Most ice cream fans have experienced the sharp stab of a 'brain freeze' as the pleasure of eating turns to sharp pain. This phenomenon is caused as the icy cold ice cream triggers the nerves in the warm roof of your mouth. Interestingly, this effect only occurs in hot weather and can't be recreated by eating ice cream in a hot room. Eating with care and more slowly can prevent pleasure turning into pain!

What's the best choice if you're trying to lose weight?

What's the best choice if you're trying to lose weight?

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There's no point being careful with the ice cream if your choice of cone doubles the calories. The best option is to think small and plain. A traditional cornet adds just 15 kcals to your ice cream total, but your ice cream treat can be another 100 kcal more just by choosing an oyster shell, chocolate dipped waffle cone or nougat wafer, plus syrups, sprinkles or adding a flake to make a '99'.

 

Ditch the cone and go for a scoop from a tub? Even better – as long as you don't add another scoop to fill the bowl!

Which food protein helped low fat ice cream to remain 'creamy' when eaten?

Which food protein helped low fat ice cream to remain 'creamy' when eaten?

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Fat makes ice cream taste rich and creamy. Low fat ice creams used to be easily identified by their lack of 'creaminess' and a crunchy ice cream texture, caused by jagged ice crystals forming on freezing.

 

A special protein from the deep sea pout fish living in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic provided the answer. The pout fish naturally produces its own anti-freeze, an 'ice-structuring protein' which changes the size and shape of ice crystals and lowers the temperature at which they are formed. Using this protein in small amount improves ice crystal formation in low fat ice creams, keeping that 'creamy' texture we love.

 

So does your ice cream contain fish? No, it doesn't. Once the protein was identified a genetically modified yeast was developed to make it. The protein is then separated from the yeast and purified before being added to low fat ice cream.

Why does a layer of ice appear on top of ice cream?

Why does a layer of ice appear on top of ice cream?

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If you leave your ice cream sitting out after helping yourself to a scoop, the chances are you will find a layer of ice on top later. As the ice cream warms in the room temperature small crystals of the ice cream start to melt and then refreeze as lumps of ice once it is back in the freezer. Replacing ice cream back in the freezer promptly will prevent this from happening.

Why is salt often used to make home made ice cream?

Why is salt often used to make home made ice cream?

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The sugar and fat content of an ice cream recipe interfere with the freezing process, stopping ice-cream from freezing at 0oC, the temperature at which water freezes. Like sugar, salt affects how water freezes and effectively lowers the freezing and melting point of the temperature of the mixture to below the normal freezing point of water. This makes the mixture cold enough to freeze.

On a hot, breezy day, why does ice cream melt quicker?

On a hot, breezy day, why does ice cream melt quicker?

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It's pretty obvious that ice cream will melt fast on a hot day, but add a warm breeze and the process is even quicker. Heat from the air is drawn toward the cold ice cream, speeding up melting. Humid weather also melts ice cream faster than dry weather.

Ice cream or sorbet? What's the difference?

Ice cream or sorbet? What's the difference?

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Sorbet is a semi-frozen sugar syrup that can be flavoured with fruit juice or puree as well as other infusions like jasmine, mint or coffee. As it contains no dairy, it is preferred by people who are lactose intolerant as well as vegans.

Some frozen yoghurt contains the same active cultures as ordinary yoghurt.

Some frozen yoghurt contains the same active cultures as ordinary yoghurt.

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It's true that many frozen yoghurts contain beneficial live cultures, known as probiotics, that are also found in non-frozen yoghurt. While they become dormant when frozen, the warmth of the body returns them to active duty when eaten.

 

Yoghurt is made by adding live bacterial cultures to milk to develop the texture and taste we associate with yoghurt. If fresh yoghurt is used, then it's likely to retain "live" cultures, but if the yoghurt was pasteurised before being frozen these bacteria are still present, but are no longer live.

A full serving of sorbet contains more fat than half a serving of ice cream.

A full serving of sorbet contains more fat than half a serving of ice cream.

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A 75g serving of one supermarket brand of lemon sorbet has just 0.4g fat and 85 kcal.

 

The same serving of vanilla dairy ice cream has around 146 calories, but 7.3g fat.

 

So a sorbet scoop or ice lolly may be healthier for you, but don’t over indulge. Remember that both ice cream and sorbets have a high sugar content.

Can you be addicted to ice cream?

Can you be addicted to ice cream?

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In drug addiction, addicts get less and less pleasure as they develop a tolerance of the substance over time. This makes it hard to reach their original high. One research study suggests ice cream may have the same effect. Researchers studied two groups of teens. One group ate ice cream on a regular basis, the other did not. The study showed that reward centres in the brains of the ice cream-eaters were de-sensitised and less active when fed ice cream milkshakes, compared to the group that ate ice cream less often.

 

Of course, these results could have been influenced by the choice of an ice cream milkshake as the test food. Whilst it was a treat for the non-ice cream eaters, it wouldn't have been as much of one for ice cream lovers, who would have probably preferred an ice cream to a milkshake - so this could have influenced the results of the study.

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Well done! You know the scoop on ice cream

You're getting there. Defrost and try again.

Don't have a meltdown. Chill out and see if you can do better.

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