It’s creamy, cold, and sweet and we all love it! But it’s also loaded with calories, sugar, and fat. What are the downsides of eating ice cream? Is there a way to enjoy this summer treat as a part of a healthy cycling diet? Let’s take a look.
There are a few things you should know about ice cream, whether you’re eating it mid ride or outside of cycling.
It’s high in added sugar
The World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugars to under 10% of daily calories or about 50 g of sugar for the average person. This means one or two servings of ice cream, depending on the size of your “serving”, can easily push over this daily limit.
It’s loaded with calories
Ice cream is high in fat and sugar content and low in fibre, which makes it really calorie dense. Ice cream is very palatable but not very satiating as a result. It’s easy to eat more than you are planning to.
It often contains additives
Many ice creams include ingredients like artificial flavours and additives. Some artificial ingredients and preservatives have been associated with negative health effects while others have been proven safe. But who really checks the label on ice cream?
Can you have ice cream while cycling?
A lot of calories and sugar might be a problem when you’re sitting on a couch all day but it sounds perfect for a cycling snack, right? Unfortunately, it’s also very rich in fat. Fat slows digestion, which is the opposite of what you need when you’re pedalling. Plus, some people have difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar present in milk, which can result in a grumbling stomach or worse on the bike.
So, if you’re competitive and want to get the most out of your training, ice cream in the middle of your ride is not a good idea. If you’re going for a leisurely day trip and you have time to take a break to properly digest the ice cream, you’re probably going to be fine.
How to best enjoy it?
Here are a few tips to help you avoid some of the downsides of ice cream and get the most pleasure out of the experience.
Don’t eat too much at once
Try and stick to a single serving of ice cream. Either serve yourself a measured portion in a bowl or go for pre-portioned products. This will help you avoid overeating. Also, when you have too much ice cream, your tongue gets cold and then you end up not really being able to taste it fully.
Eat it slowly
If you eat ice cream too fast, you might get the dreaded brain freeze, which is a sure-fire way to ruin your enjoyment. When you slow down, you will not only eliminate the change of brain freeze – you will also truly appreciate all the flavours that the ice cream maker put in it.
Go for the cone
Ice cream is made to be licked. You need to stay with it. Cones are wonderful. They make the moment just a bit more precious and they keep you focused. If cones aren’t an option, then spoons are OK but avoid metal ones. Metal transfers heat faster, which will melt the ice cream.
Read the label
If you are going for store-bought ice cream, take advantage of the fact that you can read the label. Check the nutrition and ingredient list. Try to choose products made mostly from real ingredients, such as cream, milk, cocoa, and vanilla beans with as few additives as possible.