November 10 – Food scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia are finally making a healthier ice cream to be used as a functional food (whole food). What the researchers are doing is adding dietary fiber, antioxidants, and probiotics (gut bacteria that support a healthy digestive system) to regular ice cream that’s at least 16 percent butterfat and sweetened with sugar.
The antioxidants are put in to catch free radicals that do endothelial damage and age people faster. See the November 10, 2009 article "Researchers Plan Ice Cream That’s Good For You," by Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer, at the Live Science site.
The goal is to develop a prototype which will be available for tasting, but not in the stores until two years from now. The tasting stage might be ready in six months. It’s called functional ice cream, but it’s still full-fat ice cream.
Of course, you can make your own ice cream without the fat and sugar, but you have to call it frozen dessert. A quick recipe you can make at home is to put a handful of almonds in your blender with water and liquify it, then add your favorite sweetener–honey, fruit, carob powder, or stevia. Then you add a cup of cooked quinoa and/or amaranth or both mixed together to the liquified almonds and water and blend again until the cooked grains also are liquified. Then freeze and eat.
Food chemistry scientists at the University of Missouri – Columbia are choosing their specific ingredients based on what’s familiar to consumers that also has been proven healthy in past scientific studies. The ice cream is going to be marketed according to finding out why people buy ice cream. That means you buy it because it’s good for you or because you like the taste, or both.
Researchers are not going to add "foreign" ingredients not familiar to most consumers. The purpose of the research is to find a healthier ice cream.
What consumers don’t want is bitter taste. The healthier ice cream must not only taste good, but have the texture and flavor to attract consumers. There’s a psychological reason why people buy ice cream or make it.
For example, chocolate flavor is strong enough to overcome flavors from healthy nutrients that consumers may not be familiar with. If too much fiber is put into the ice cream, it becomes gritty. No one will buy gritty ice cream.
Scientists want to make sure that if you eat the ice cream, you’ll get 10 to 15 percent of your fiber requirements for that day. So the ice cream has to taste good enough so that you eat enough of it to get your fiber. Currently, açai berry is being used to put the antioxidants into the ice cream. However, if you’ve eaten açai berries, you know the flavor isn’t what you’d want to taste in the ice cream. Now the researchers are trying out ways to balance enough antioxidant to be healthy with the least açai flavor.
Making Your Own Frozen Desserts
Want to make your own ice cream, or rather frozen dessert (dairy-free) healthier recipes such as avocado pine nut frozen dessert with pine nuts or fragrant frozen desserts made with lavender honey? Here are some of my frozen dessert recipes published in other Examiner articles: