Ice cream enthusiasts around the globe likely celebrated upon reading a recent article that hinted at the health benefits of enjoying your preferred ice cream flavor. The article referenced a doctoral thesis from 2018, indicating that individuals with type 2 diabetes who ate more ice cream faced reduced heart disease risks. However, thrilling as this may be for anyone who delights in a scoop of raspberry ripple now and then, a closer inspection of the study reveals that other variables are probably at play

The article is based on research from 2018 that utilized data from the Nurses' Health Study I and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Initiated by Harvard University researchers in 1976 and 1986, respectively, these comprehensive observational studies spanned approximately two decades. Their aim was to monitor the long-term health of participants and to explore potential connections between lifestyle factors, such as diet, and the incidence of certain diseases.

For their analysis, the study focused on individuals from these cohorts who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the start of the studies, totaling around 16,000 participants. These individuals had also documented their dietary habits over the past year, including the foods they regularly consumed. It's important to note that there was no directive given to the participants regarding the consumption or avoidance of ice cream.

The study showed that individuals consuming ice cream no more than twice weekly had a 12% lower chance of heart disease compared to non-consumers.

However, the connection between ice cream consumption and reduced heart disease risk was significant only when considering overall diet quality. This indicates a balanced diet might play a more crucial role in mitigating heart disease risk for those with type 2 diabetes than occasional ice cream intake.

Additionally, there's a possibility that some participants ceased ice cream consumption upon learning their heightened cardiovascular risk post-study enrollment. This could misleadingly suggest ice cream's protective effect against heart disease, whereas the opposite might be true.

This study, being observational, suggests a link between ice cream consumption and reduced heart disease risk but doesn't confirm ice cream as a direct cause of lower cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes patients.

For definitive evidence on ice cream's impact on heart disease, a clinical trial with real and placebo ice cream would be necessary, yet such a study faces practical and financial challenges, making it improbable without major food industry support.

Ingredients of Ice cream

Can ice cream be healthy?

The number of research projects investigating the specific impact of ice cream on health has been limited. Those studies that have been conducted usually involved participants consuming a minimal quantity (less than a quarter of a serving daily), which was insufficient for drawing significant conclusions about its effects.

An Italian research hints at a connection between increased ice cream intake and non-alcoholic fatty liver risk, similar to red meat, indicating overall diet quality as the primary health determinant.

Ice cream, being an ultra-processed food, is rich in calories, fat, and sugar due to its processing techniques. Such foods are associated with health risks like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Dietary recommendations suggest reducing sugar and fat consumption, indicating that excessive ice cream consumption could adversely impact health.

Despite the mixed feelings that often surround dairy products, there's a silver lining for dairy enthusiasts. Over the past two decades, a growing body of research has illuminated the possible health benefits of dairy fat. Fermented dairy items, like certain yogurts, and cheese, in particular, have been spotlighted for their potential in lowering the risks associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This opens up inquiries into whether ice cream, due to its dairy fat content, might also share these benefits, though further investigations are needed to substantiate such claims.

On another note, incorporating calcium-rich foods into one's diet has been linked to reduced risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, underscoring the nutritional importance of not only dairy but also pulses and nuts as viable calcium sources. These alternatives offer additional nutritional perks while sidestepping the high sugar dilemma often presented by ice cream. However, amidst the excitement of possibly finding health benefits in our favorite treats, it's crucial to approach such research with a critical eye. The impact of any single food item can be misleading, potentially amplified by flaws in research methodologies or influenced by variables like the overall diet and lifestyle of the participants


Ice cream can be a delightful occasional indulgence, but it's not a health food. By understanding its ingredients and practicing moderation, you can enjoy this treat as part of a balanced diet. Remember, mindful choices and portion control are key to a healthy relationship with ice cream!