Most women have sweet cravings during pregnancy, and ice cream often tops the list. However, some may not support the idea of having delicious ice cream during pregnancy, while others may think it to be okay to indulge in one of these drool-worthy temptations. Therefore, you may need to keep a check on the amount consumed as pregnancy cravings can be baffling. Though ice creams are not known for their nutritional value, does it mean you cannot eat them at all when pregnant? Read this post to find out. Here we help you decide which ice creams and toppings to consider and what to avoid when you are expecting.
Is It Safe To Eat Ice Cream During Pregnancy?
Yes. The basic ingredients of ice cream are dairy (milk, cream), sugar, and eggs (sometimes), which are safe to eat during pregnancy. However, when milk and eggs are used, they should be pasteurized to eliminate the risks of bacterial poisoning (1).
Ice creams also have flavors that are usually not harmful to your pregnancy. But it is essential to know about the ingredients and flavors used, and whether or not they are good for you. For example, if you are allergic to a fruit or nuts, avoid eating fruit-flavored ice cream and those that may contain nuts as toppings. To stay safe, avoid flavors or variants that you are not sure about.
Moreover, eat ice cream sparingly, as a treat. Overindulgence in such foods can be a bad idea.
Nutritional Profile Of Ice Cream
Ice cream is one thing that most people eat for pleasure and not nutrition. Nonetheless, it contains a few nutrients that could be helpful in pregnancy.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams of ice cream provides you 200kcal, 2.8g protein, 24.29g carbohydrate, 22.86g sugars, 114mg calcium, 43mg sodium, and 429 IU vitamin A (2).
However, ice cream also contains cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation.
Why Do You Crave Ice Cream When Pregnant?
Craving something sweet, such as an ice cream, is pretty common in pregnancy (3). You might crave for the ice cream due to a lack of calcium in your body, or just because you are extremely fond of ice cream.
Make sure you do not have it in excess. Otherwise, it could affect your health.
Possible Side Effects Of Ice Cream In Pregnancy
Here are a few side effects of overeating ice cream in pregnancy.
- If you have diabetes, you should limit the consumption of ice cream as it is high in calories and carbohydrates. This helps control your blood sugar levels (4).
- Pregnant women are susceptible to infections such as toxoplasmosis and listeriosis. When you eat ice creams that have raw eggs, unpasteurized eggs, or unpasteurized milk, there could be a risk of infection to you and your baby (5). You may avoid or limit eating ice cream when you are sensitive to cold. Although it is not harmful, you may get a fever or cold.
It is essential to know what is safe for your health and which ice cream can be safely consumed to avoid these infections.
What Is The Best Ice Cream To Eat In Pregnancy?
If you are looking for safer ice cream options during pregnancy, you may consider non-fat frozen yogurt (6). Just make sure it is from well-known brands and is made with pasteurized ingredients that are safe to include in your pregnancy diet.
Also, pick up flavors that are suitable for your health. For instance, you may eat chocolate ice cream if you like chocolate. But have it occasionally and not too often. If you have any doubts, you may seek advice from your doctor regarding ice creams that are safe and not-so-safe for consumption.
Ice Creams You Should Not Eat In Pregnancy
Take note of these ice creams that you should avoid.
- Avoid soft serve ice cream and fried ice cream to prevent the risk of infections (7).
- Even homemade ice creams are not safe for pregnancy as they are made using raw eggs. It is better to get your ice cream from a branded store.
- If you are going for a cookie dough ice cream, check its ingredients. Some brands include raw eggs while some do not.
Many women crave ice cream during pregnancy. Since ice creams are generally made of milk, sugar, eggs, and flavors, eating them occasionally does not harm you or your baby. However, while choosing an ice cream, be sure to buy it from a good brand. Read the ingredients carefully to ensure you are not allergic to them. Avoid ice creams that have unpasteurized milk. Consume ice creams in moderation, as excess may cause cold and cough, listeriosis, or toxoplasmosis. If you have any discomfort after consuming ice creams, seek a doctor’s advice.
2. Ice creams, chocolate; Unites States Department of Agriculture
3. L. M. Belzer, J. C. Smulian, S. E. Su, and B. J. Tepper; Food cravings and intake of sweet foods in healthy pregnancy and mild gestational diabetes melitus. A prospective study.; Appetite (2010)
4. Diabetes During Pregnancy and Diabetes Survival Skills; The Ohio State University
5. Staying Healthy During Pregnancy; Brenner Children’s Wake Forest Baptist Health
6. N. Dragon; Why Pregnancy Can Make You Have Weird Cravings; Intermountain Healthcare (2016)
7. P. P Mari; Food to Avoid during Pregnancy; academia.org
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Jyoti Benjamin(MS, RD, CSO, FAND, CD)
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