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New Calcium-Fortified Ice Cream as Good as Milk?

A study published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that the absorption of a new calcium-fortified ice cream is just as good as fortified low-fat milk.

16 volunteers between 25 and 40 years of age from the Netherlands were recruited for the randomized, double-blind cross-over study.

The participants consumed either ice cream formulated with 3% butter fat, ice cream formulated with 9% coconut oil or low-fat milk with 1.7% milk fat together with a light standard breakfast on three separate occasions.

The researchers from the Unilever Food and Health Research Institute found no significant difference in calcium absorption between the ice cream products and the milk.  Actual absorption was measured to be 26%, 28% and 31% respectively.

Many people fail to consume adequate amounts of calcium and these findings show that ice cream may provide another way to get more calcium in your diet, particularly among picky children and adolescents.

The researchers also note that the unhealthy reputation of ice cream is somewhat unfounded, highlighting the fact that in terms of calorie content, a serving of ice cream is comparable to the nutritional value of a banana, a bowl of yogurt with muesli, or half of a chocolate chip cookie.

Early research has also indicated that ice cream shows good potential for supporting probiotic strains.

Further research is necessary, however, to overcome some of the hurdles ice cream presents, such as long term refrigeration, which can easily kill probiotics.

Getting enough calcium in your diet is essential, as it is the mineral responsible for bone building, muscle contraction, central nervous system function and hormone secretion.

Since calcium absorption decreases and bone loss increases as you age, it is particularly important for anyone over 50 years of age to consume the recommended daily intake of 1200mg of calcium per day.

Calcium has been shown to aid bone health, help with weight loss, skin health, and reducing the risk of ccolorectal cancer and stroke. Some studies have even suggested that calcium intake is associated with longevity.

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