Eating Ice Cream Before Bed? The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Ice cream is cne of the most popular and versatile frozen desserts in the world. And when you consider the refreshing, creamy, and cool taste it offers, it’s no wonder why!

Ice cream is usually eaten as a snack or dessert and while it is not exactly perceived as a healthy meal, it still contains some nutrients that can benefit the body. 

We’ll explore some of these benefits here as well as answer the question – what happens when you eat ice cream before bed?

Eating Ice Cream Before Bed: Are There Side effects?

It is a common practice to indulge in a sweet treat after a hearty meal. It can be a piece of chocolate, a cookie or a scoop of ice cream. After all, having these deserts can go a long way in helping us relax and unwind.

However, eating these sugary treats before bed might do us and our sleep cycles more harm than good.

Ice cream is made from cream or milk. Sweeteners, colorings, and other spices are also added to give it flavor.

There are many varieties of ice creams and depending on the constituents of the ice cream, the nutritional values differ. However, the base ingredients remain cream or milk.

Being a sweetened dairy product, ice cream contains sugar and milk, both of which can reduce our ability to have a good night’s sleep.

The sugar inside ice cream acts as a stimulant and raises the blood sugar level of the body. This can make you restless and fidgety and prevent a good night’s sleep.

In fact a study carried out in 2019 showed that very few students admitted to having a good night’s sleep after consuming a meal with a high sugar content.

Furthermore, for natural sleep to occur, the body’s circadian rhythm lowers the body’s temperature. Eating meals rich in carbohydrates and sugar such as ice cream actually elevates the normal body temperature, thereby making it harder to fall asleep.

Apart from sugar, other ingredients like chocolate and milk in ice cream can also disrupt your sleep cycle. Chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine that can cause hyperactivity and restlessness.

Milk on the other hand is a fatty substance. If not properly digested, it can cause heaviness in the stomach and also lead to some discomfort.

It is common knowledge that because of its high fat and sugar level, frequent consumption of ice cream can cause an increase in weight too. However, with proper exercise, the sugar can be converted into energy.

Yet eating ice cream before bed when you will not have the chance to work off that sugar rush will increase the probability of weight gain. The fat and sugar that should have been burnt off will then accumulate and give rise to excessive calories which can lead to obesity.

From the above-mentioned points, it is obvious that you should think twice before eating ice cream before bed. It isn’t healthy and causes more harm than good.

General Effects Of Ice Cream On The Body

Although ice cream is a sugary treat and it’s not advised to be eaten in excess, you will be happy to know there are still some nutritional benefits it offers.

Here are some of the general effects of ice cream on the body.

1. Great Source of Minerals & Vitamins

Eating ice cream is a sure way of getting some essential minerals and vitamins into your body system. The milk and cream in ice cream are great sources of calcium, Vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorus, and Vitamin A.

These nutrients and minerals vary depending on the flavor of the ice cream taken. For example, chocolate flavored ice creams contain chocolate which is an excellent source of antioxidants and oleic acid that can prove helpful in protecting the heart, fighting off free radicals, and lowering the cholesterol level.

2. Provides Energy

Ice cream is rich in sugar and fat, both of which are great sources of energy. Taking a scoop of ice cream will give you a sugar boost. The sugar is then converted into glucose, which is the body’s main fuel.

The calcium present in the milk in ice cream also helps to strengthen bones and makes them stronger.

3. Stimulates the Brain

Some studies also show that eating ice cream in the morning may help to stimulate the brain!

Generally, eating meals with vitamins and minerals in the morning will help stimulate the brain. However, ice cream takes it a step further. Eating ice cream may trigger the release of dopamine in the brain which boosts mood and inspires the feeling of motivation.

Side Effects Of Eating Ice Cream

As mentioned briefly in this article, ice cream also has some potential downsides. Some of them are ;

1. Increased Calorie & Sugar Level

Just like many processed desserts, ice cream has a high sugar and calorie content. These two elements can cause a plethora of health conditions such as cavities, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, and so on.

1 serving of ice cream contains about 12 – 24 grams of sugar. The recommended level of sugar to be taken in a 2000-calorie diet is 50g. Thus, just 2 servings of ice cream is enough to meet this limit. Keep in mind that you would also get sugar from other meals, which can cause you to go beyond the recommended sugar limit.

2. Unhealthy Additives

Many varieties of ice cream contain additives, and some of them are hazardous to human health. They cause intestinal gas, bloating, or intestinal inflammation.

3. Serious Health Conditions

Ice cream must contain more than 10% fat in order to be considered ice cream, because of this, it is a high-fat product.

Accumulation of fat in the body can cause severe health conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

It can also increase blood cholesterol level; increasing the risk of getting heart diseases.

A clinician in the process of conducting a blood pressure examination. Original image sourced from US Government department: Public Health Image Library, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under US law this image is copyright free, please credit the government department whenever you can”.

Eating Ice Cream Before Bed: OUR FINAL THOUGHTS

Although ice cream contains nutrients like phosphorus and calcium that can benefit the body in numerous ways, just like many processed frozen desserts, they also contain a high amount of sugar, milk, and other ingredients that can disrupt your sleep cycle and make sleeping a chore.