Well, here’s one way to kick off summer. Dariush Mozaffarian is a cardiologist at Tufts Medical Center, a professor of nutrition, and was named one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters. Mozaffarian is also the bearer of great news having recently said in an interview that there are health benefits to eating ice cream.
In a recent interview with WBUR, Mozzaffarian discussed at length the nutrition factors in many dairy products. This included the ramifications of too much dairy, and addressing some myths. While there are common attributes to many dairy foods, there are also things that are unique to particular products. For example, yogurt has active probiotics. But let’s get right to the good stuff. Today is the first day of summer, so it’s only fair to have dessert first.
He mentioned that “ice cream actually lowers risk of diabetes through some unknown mechanism.” Not the most scientific result. And, in fact, The Atlantic had a feature earlier this year about this. titled, “Nutrition Science’s Most Preposterous Result,” and noted that “Studies show a mysterious health benefit to ice cream. Scientists don’t want to talk about it.”
Dr. Mozzaffarian went on to explain that there is typically a healthier glucose response from ice cream as compared to eating something like white bread.
Then, there’s milk fat globule membrane. “Milk fats are present as globules emulsified in the aqueous phase of milk and stabilized by a delicate membrane architecture called milk fat globule membrane (MFGM). The unique structure and composition of the MFGM play an important role in fat digestion and the metabolic programming of neonates,” the National Institute of Health says. This is relevant because MFGM is present in ice cream, whereas in other dairy products (like butter), it gets lost.
“As a cardiologist who studies nutrition, I often have a scoop of ice cream as a dessert,” Mozzaffarian concludes. He holds ice cream as the second-best dessert option behind dark chocolate. Real, non-processed ice cream contains some proteins, refined grains, and saturated fats.
Like anything else, in moderation, the right ice cream has health benefits. That’s all the more reason to start summer with your favorite scoop.