Is ice cream healthy or as addictive as crack cocaine?

Friday 16th March 2012

  • Discover why a simple dessert could be a criminal act
  • Is ice cream healthy we answer the ultimate dessert dilemma
  • A dairy dish won't kill you but it should be moderated 

The dangers of dairy are upon us!

Unwittingly I may have turned into a drug pusher…

It happened last Sunday when we had Mum & Dad round for dinner, and I seized on the opportunity to turn them both into drug crazed addicts.

The problem was I hadn’t realised I was doing it – and now I feel so guilty for my actions.

Since that day I have had a recurring dream...

I am picturing the scene in the courtroom where yours truly is led into the dock shackled to a burly prison warder; the judge looking sternly over his specs at me, and the jury showering me with contempt.

“Your honour before you is the wretch who plied his dear old mum & dad with a cocktail of filth,” begins the prosecution barrister, “He deserves no mercy in this court today.”

My own brief shrugs his shoulders and offers no defence, “This man is the lowest of the low, rightly condemned by his own family and sentence is too long.”

The judge places a black handkerchief onto his wig and hands me down a life sentence of having to watch re runs of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ until the end of my days.

“I’m soooo sorry Mum... so very sorry.”

What on earth could I have done I hear you ask?

Well it’s about time I came clean, and ask for your mercy before the day I face that court.

It’ll take a bit of explaining but...

A Sunday offering

There are few pleasures greater than a hot apple crumble, packed with juicy Bramley apples that we have stored over winter, generously drizzled with honey and cinnamon and topped with sweet crunchy delight.

Lara’s crumble is one of the world’s best. It is based on a traditional butter, sugar and flour crumb but she adds ground almonds and oats to it to give it something special.

Right now I hope your mouths are watering, because that was just how I felt as it arrived at the table.

Little wisps of steam were escaping from the pie dish carrying with it the hunt of exotic cinnamon spice that was hugging each and every apple in the dish.

Now when we planned the lunch during the week neither my dear wife nor I had foreseen the unseasonable warm day that we enjoyed.

Had we had even and inkling then a hot steaming crumble may not have featured, but it had and we needed to make the best of it.

This is where I made my mistake.

Rather than whisk up a batch of fresh custard, or reach for the warmed cream I grabbed something far more sinister…

My hand served my dear parents something which has since been proved to be more addictive than cocaine.

It’s a product once seen as something we could all enjoy now and again but it seems I would have been better off getting a packet of Benson & Hedges out and sparking them up!

So what was this modern day evil that I served, and what can I expect by way of punishment for it?

Vanilla ice cream...

... you have read that right, the stuff of my crime was a tub of Cornwall’s finest cold cream dessert.

Why you should treat the ice-cream man as a criminal

A study from the Oregon Research Institute was published in the week that concluded that when ice cream was eaten the chemicals in the food tampered with the brain's reward response, reducing the ‘feel good’ boost, making them want more.

You see we are capable of generating our own stimulants when we carry out certain actions or consume particular compounds – this is mostly a substance in the brain called dopamine.

The problem is that if we overdo things our brain gets bored with the same stuff and production of dopamine drops off. The problem is that our bodies crave the impact of this natural high, so we repeat the action to greater levels in order to get the same hit.

In fact the research team looked at the brain activity of its subjects and compared them to cocaine addicts, and found the responses to ice cream to be greater.

"This down-regulation pattern is seen with frequent drug use, where the more an individual uses the drug, the less reward they receive from using it," Dr Burger, the study's co-author is quoted.

But of course this isn’t the first time foods which are high in fat and sugar have hit the headlines in the last few weeks.

No ice-cream is innocent

Over in California a team who were looking at the way such junk food alters the way we function, especially when it comes to decision making.

They concluded that sugar is so harmful it should be controlled like alcohol or tobacco!

Now I can’t believe that a bit of ice-cream with my Sunday lunch is going to turn me, or Mum & Dad into zombie drug fiends, but I do concur with some of the logic they are talking about.

As you know I hate the way our lives are dominated by poor quality food, I deplore the fast buck culture our retailers operate on, and their insistence on allowing food giants to peddle their addictive filth to our kids.

I do take the over hyped counter reaction with a pinch of salt though, or I would if that wasn’t bad for me!

A little of what you fancy should do you good is my motto – the problem always comes when you take one of these treats and turn it into a staple diet.

A nip of scotch occasionally, a sprinkle of salt on my chips once a month and the odd take away curry are unlikely to see me heading for my wooden overcoat earlier than I should.

But start to demand this stuff every day and it will be a different story – surely that is obvious to everyone?


Yours, as always





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