If there is one type of food people wonder about while on the Paleo diet, it’s sweets. You know already that you shouldn’t eat too much sugar, and if it’s processed – you should stay away from it altogether.
But we can’t blame you if you’ve walked through the frozen aisle at the supermarket and wondered – Can you eat ice cream on paleo?
Eating ice cream is a staple of the American lifestyle, and the stats can confirm that. Throughout the 2010s, Americans spent around 10 billion dollars annually on the stuff!
We always encourage asking a lot of questions about nutrition. If you want to stay healthy it’s important to know what you are putting in your body. So what we plan to do here is gather as much information we can, and let you decide.
Can you eat ice cream, what are the health benefits or risks, and what exactly will happen to your body if you choose to go for it? Let’s figure it out.
See Also: Does Ice Cream Go Bad?
Can You Eat Ice Cream On Paleo?
The short answer is – NO you can not eat ice cream on Paleo.
Ice cream is made out of, you guessed it, cream! The cream is a dairy product, and like all other foods that fall into this category, it is not allowed on Paleo. There are, as always, some great alternatives but we’ll get to those later.
A Quick Glance At The History
Humans have consumed milk from other mammals for quite a long time. We started around seven to nine thousand years ago, in the Neolithic era. We figured out agriculture, then we domesticated some species.
Once we figured out that we can consume the milk of other species, the dairy product started popping up every once in a while. The cheese was first produced around six thousand years ago, but that’s not the most important thing that happened at the time.
It is believed that humans actually only started tolerating milk six thousand years ago. So Neolithic farmers harvested milk, but they couldn’t process it yet. It is only through a sort of forced evolution that we, as a species, started processing milk. Some scientists think that might not have been a good idea.
Why You Can’t Eat Ice Cream on Paleo?
We know that this is some bad news that we’re bringing, but we have good reasons! Ice cream is a tasty dessert, but the health risk of consuming dairy might not be worth it.
Going on the Paleo diet means some foods will be banned for good. Wheat, vegetable oils, rice, dairy, refined sugar are some of these. The one we’ll stick to right now is milk (but we’ll get back to the sugar in a minute). These days, ice cream is mostly made from cream – thorough it can be made from just milk. Whichever way we turn it, it shouldn’t be on your Paleo meal plan.
You see, milk from other species has never really taken off – biologically speaking. We consume it more than ever, but our bodies are still struggling to adjust to it. And since that;’s the main ingredient in traditional ice cream, it makes sense that you should stay away from it.
There are over 30 million lactose intolerant people in the U.S.A. alone. That’s a pretty scary statistic for a substance that is consumed as much as it is. But even those staggering numbers might not tell the whole story.
All people are, in some way or another, lactose intolerant. This condition means that your body can’t produce enough lactase. Lactase is an enzyme that is responsible for breaking down lactose. Humans stop producing the enzymes after infancy since we no longer need the milk of our own species. So you see, it’s actually perfectly natural to be lactose intolerant. And even if your body does produce this enzyme, which it can (evolution tried its best), milk really isn’t that healthy for us.
There are benefits to drinking cow milk. The proteins are there, the calcium is great for your bones. But once your body gets over the hurdle of breaking down lactose – it turns it into glucose.
The glucose you get from the milk isn’t the only sweet thing you should be worried about. Your favorite store-bought ice cream has some great tastes for you to enjoy. Maybe it’s a classic like chocolate or vanilla, maybe something fruity. But the taste you got hooked on is not chocolate – it’s sugar. And not just any kind, ice cream is usually full of processed sugar exclusively.
Health Risks Of Ice Cream
We got to be honest with you – traditional ice cream is not the healthiest of foods. The list of health risks that come with it is pretty long, so we’re going to cherry-pick a few that we think could cause the most concerns.
A Quick Route To Weight-Gain
Eating too much ice cream is pretty much the normal way to eat ice cream. Sure, some people know how to control themselves – but that kind of self-control is a superpower to most of us. And we get it! It’s really not your fault, ice cream is made to go overboard on. The high sugar and fat levels will make stopping quite a difficult task.
They will also make you gain unnecessary weight quicker than your usual snack. Your body won’t know what to do with those substances so it will try its best to help. This causes other problems like high blood sugar and heart problems.
The high amount of saturated fats that are found in ice cream cause a lot of trouble in your body. A small amount will be used for energy, but most of it goes to places where it doesn’t belong. We already mentioned the fat will be stored for later use all around your system, but it gets worse. Some of it is bound to enter your blood flow. This means your blood lipids and blood fat goes up – which can result in a heart attack.
Sugar + Sugar = Diabetes
We already mentioned the high amounts of sugar that go into ice cream. But it doesn’t end there. The most common way of making your cold dessert even sweeter is by pumping it full of high fructose corn syrup. This sweetener is cheaper to make but the risks are even greater than with regular sugar.
The same thing happens with corn syrup that would happen with regular sugar. Your body turns it into glucose as much as it can, but it pumps it into the bloodstream since it has no real use for it. High glucose levels usually get evened out with insulin, but the more you push your body to make insulin the more you risk not being able to do it anymore. Once this happens, you become diabetic.
Enough of the bad news! We gave you all these reasons to stay away from traditional ice cream. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat the sweet cold dessert ever again. The alternatives that can be bought or made are sweeter and healthier. Our suggestion is to make it yourself, but the stuff that you can get at the store is not bad by any means. Just make sure to read the fine print. You don’t want them to sneak some unnecessary sugar into your system.
Solving The Biggest Problems
You’ve probably figured out by now what the problem is with ice cream – milk and sugar. Those would be the worst offenders, so using alternatives for those two ingredients should do the Paleo trick!
Coconut and almond milk are our favorite paleo versions of the diary giant – but if you’re a fan of some other milk, go for it. As long as there’s no dairy involved, it’s Paleo-friendly.
You can’t use just regular old coconut milk though. What you want to get is either full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. The sugar shouldn’t be a challenge either. The most popular alternatives are honey and maple syrup, but if you’re making fruit ice cream, you probably won’t need to make it sweeter.
The big problem with Paleo ice cream is that, if you are at the start of your Paleo lifestyle, you could still be accustomed to the sweetness of processed sugar. This will make the transition to the alternatives a bit tougher, but ultimately you can get used to the healthy version with no real problems. Trust us, the benefits that come with these alternatives will help the transition much more than you think.
Nutritional Values Of The Alternatives
So you decided to make some Paleo Ice Cream, but should you be as worried about the nutritional values as you were with the traditional stuff? Let’s check it out.
Chocolate Paleo Ice Cream Nutritional Values
For this example, we chose the most common Paleo ice cream – chocolate.
As you can see there really isn’t that much to be worried about. Fats are at a low level and cholesterol is at zero The only thing that could grab your attention is the carbs, but in its defense – we never said you should eat this stuff five times a day! It is a dessert and should be eaten in moderation.
Can You Eat Ice Cream On Paleo – Final Words
So traditional ice cream is out, Paleo ice cream is in! Sounds like a good deal to us. Ice cream wears some big shoes in our society, and filling them seems like a difficult task. But all you need to do is think about it like this. It’s not the ice cream that you like – it’s the sugar. Homemade Paleo ice cream can have whatever taste you want it to have.
Once you spend some time on the diet, your sense of taste will start to recognize the real ingredients of the dessert. And if you ask us, it sounds much better to eat some real chocolate, fruit, or any other sort of ice cream for a summer snack – than to fill up on regular old white sugar and taste emulators. The Paleo way is healthier, and just plain better!