The Lowdown on Ice Cream and Chocolates

Today I am going to write about two of the most common questions that most people ask when they visit a Dietitian or Nutrition Counselor.

Ice Cream or Frozen Yoghurt?

Scoop for scoop, Ice cream is a better option than Frozen Yogurt. Frozen yoghurt is like a cheap pirated bag that you would buy on Linking Road, Bandra! Initially you may like it but then slowly it’s glaring imperfections seem more perceptible to you. Finally you get angry for buying it and swear that you will never buy a pirated product again! Frozen Yoghurt will also have the same impact on you!

You will initially have a craving for it because of all the hype surrounding it and because it sounds like it is healthy and delicious at the same time. Then you consume it and you are not always happy. After a few hours you feel gassy, hungry and promise yourself that next time you will go for the real thing.

Ice cream is the real thing. And there is no reason to be remorseful because Ice cream is not a bad choice for dessert per se if you can be satisfied with eating only a few spoonfuls and not an entire tub! Half a cup of regular ice cream is equal in calories to half a cup of frozen yoghurt. Both will measure about 150 calories which is just about the limit for a treat for those who are following a diet plan. A regular vanilla, chocolate or fruity ice cream will keep you more satisfied and you usually don’t need too much toppings to round off the flavour. Frozen yoghurt can be loaded with chemicals and other additives and tends to taste artificial. In many cases, it may take lots of toppings like chocolate chips, sugar, syrup, nuts, cookies and candies to make it taste appealing. This effectively doubles the number of calories and destroys any hope of it being a low calorie treat. So when you are faced with a dilemma go for real ice cream. It’s still the best choice!

What about Chocolate?

Moderation is the key. When it comes to health benefits, stick to dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate the better it is especially if the label mentions upwards of 70% cocoa. Modern research has indicated that moderate intake of dark chocolate can help improve heart health, blood pressure, LDL, cholesterol and blood sugar. Chocolate also contains loads of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which can confer great benefits to your body and brain. Actually some studies have even indicated that dark chocolate contains the same chemical that your brain manufactures when you are falling in love! Which is why marketers the world over have latched on to that feel-good emotion and have used such images, songs and visuals in their marketing campaigns. Cadburys is the best example in India. Being in love with chocolate makes sense from a scientific point of view.

If you dislike the bitterness of dark chocolate then worry not. You can go for white or milk chocolate which may not give you all the benefits associated with the darker version but lets be honest – you are not really eating chocolate because it is a healthy thing to do like for example eating fruit! Indulging yourself to a treat in moderation every now and then is not a crime.

Be warned though that over consumption of chocolate of any kind can be fattening and can also cause skin problems. If you are eating chocolate in addition to other fattening and sugary foods resulting in an unbalanced diet then your skin will tend to suffer. Chocolate is also not the cause of skin breakouts during your period. Women just tend to crave chocolate around this time and so it is just a coincidence. If anything your hormones are the culprit.

A lot of people wish chocolates could be placed in a food group category! Eating chocolates can and should be a guilt free experience as long as you are eating a balanced diet, eating small regulated meal portions and exercising daily. Just remember that less is more, darker is better and to enjoy every second and savour the taste whenever you treat yourself!

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