What is Your Child Swallowing With His Soft Serve Ice Cream?
Many of us grew up with the memory of the ice cream truck making its way through the neighborhood while alerting us to its progress with happy sounding chimes.
But do we need to be concerned about the ingredients that go to make this yummy dessert especially as those soft serve ice creams so popular with children can have the worst track record?
Well of course it all depends on who makes the ice cream
Besides the usual milk, sugar, whey and cream which have their own problems, when they are heavily processed or non-organic, there are common problems arising with all soft serve ice-cream makers. This is because they must use emulsifiers to replace surface proteins and to assist in the formation of the frozen smooth state of ice cream. Many of these are toxic substances such as polysorbates, carrageenan, guar gum, mono- and diglycerides and others. They also contain artificial sweeteners and chemical preservatives.
Why should we be concerned about those emulsifiers?
Calcium sulfate is used as a desiccant and a coagulant. The commercial sources of calcium sulfate (used in soft serve ice cream) are either animal-derived (from cow or pig) or synthetically manufactured from chemicals in the lab.
Polysorbate 80 has been found to negatively affect the immune system and even cause severe anaphylactic shock while studies point to it being the cause of infertility.
Magnesium hydroxide (an inorganic compound) is a common component of antacids and laxatives that interferes with the absorption of folic acid and iron.
Xanthan gum is produced by fermentation of glucose or sucrose by the xanthomonas campestris bacterium and just a small quantity is capable of producing a large increase in the viscosity of any liquid. For this reason, it is used as an emulsifier in a very large percentage of ice creams around the world. Typically made in the lab or from corn (which today is highly likely to be GM), some people develop an allergy to conventional xanthan gum with various gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas and diarrhea or migraine headaches and skin itchiness. However, it is possible to source organic xanthan gum.
Corn syrup solids are another ingredient providing all the problems that can come from a corn product. Top of the list is the craving for more sugar that your child will develop.
Potassium sorbate has been labelled as a carcinogen by various food and chemical toxicology reports.
Mono- and diglycerides are the most widely used emulsifiers in food production and are given this name because they are made from oils that have a high mono saturated fat content while still being hydrogenated. They are hidden trans fats where an alcohol (in this case glycerol) has been combined to form an emulsifying agent. With absolutely no nutritious value, their only purpose is to improve volume, uniform structure and develop the right meltdown characteristics. Detrimental to our health, their adverse effects are well documented. Try to avoid any ice creams with mono-diglycerides.
Guar gum is also called guaran. Typically produced in powder form, ice cream manufacturers like to use this cheap way of thickening, emulsifying or stabilizing. Guar gum binds with liquids in the stomach to swell and cause a feeling of fullness. Because of abdominal side effects, guar gum was declared unsafe and ineffective for use as a non- prescription diet aid, but then allowed in small doses in the food supply. Whether conventional or synthetic, guar gum is used extensively in soft serve ice cream and has been linked (through studies) to a high molecular weight agent that can cause rhinitis and asthma while its ingestion may also cause a significant reduction in the absorption and bio-availability of calcium, iron and zinc.
Sodium phosphate has many different names and is used as a food additive in hundreds of processed foods including soft serve ice cream. Sodium phosphates cause a more rapid progression of specific ailments such as chronic kidney disease while phosphate additives have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. They are also linked to accelerated aging while interfering with the way your body activates vitamin D.
Soy (soya) lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process. This waste product contains solvents and pesticides with a consistency anything from a sticky fluid to a plastic solid. It is then bleached. The majority of soy lecithin is produced from GM soy and unfermented. It is important to know that only fermented soy is fit for human consumption. Unfermented soy has a long catalogue of risks and side effects.
Carrageenan has become more well known recently and we wote all about it in an earlier blog.
But it is not only emulsifiers that you need to worry about
When you add in extra toppings, colorings and more for your soft serve ice cream helping, you could be consuming all these:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- E330 citric acid
- E405 propylene glycol alginate
- E412 guar gum
- E413 tragacanth
- E414 acacia
- Modified corn starch
- E296 malic acid
- E211 sodium benzoate & E202 potassium sorbate
- Artificial flavors
- E129 FD&C Red No. 40 and E133 FD&C Blue No. 1
Please be aware that every commercial ice cream manufacturer around the world will be using some or all of the above ingredients. If you are going to avoid these unwanted additions in your diet or that of your child, you will need to look for a company that takes pride in their organic all-natural products – or make your own!
We have emphasized the safer ingredients to be found in home made ice cream here, while below you will find another recipe.
Home made ice cream
- 3 organic pastured egg yolks
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot
- 3 cups heavy cream, preferably raw, not ultra-pasteurized
Beat egg yolks and blend in remaining ingredients. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to instructions.
And if you are lactose intolerant, you can use coconut oil and almond milk instead of dairy.