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Ice cream lovers may have a new reason to rejoice

By Food in Canada staff   

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Researchers find that calcium-fortified ice cream is as easily absorbed by the body as the same amount of calcium in milk.

Here’s some good news for ice cream lovers.

Researchers in Unilever’s R&D department in The Netherlands have found that calcium in calcium-fortified ice cream is as easily absorbed by the body as the same amount of calcium in milk.

The Unilever-funded study was conducted in 2007 and the results published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in May 2009.


People aren’t getting enough calcium

According to Unilever, there’s strong evidence that people of all ages are still failing to consume enough calcium, which has particular implications for bone health later in life, such as the risk for developing osteoporosis.

The company explains that for optimum bone health consuming calcium during the teenage years is critical. But milk isn’t often teenagers’ first choice of beverage.

As the company sees it, ice cream might just fit the bill and could provide the calcium boost many people would need.

And just to be clear, in a story on Unilever explained that the ice cream used in the study was “formulated responsibly.” The ice cream used had the nutritional value of a banana, a bowl of yogurt with muesli or half of a chocolate chip cookie.

Experiment details

According to the story, the researchers recruited 16 healthy volunteers between the ages of 25 to 45 to participate in a randomized, reference controlled, double-blind cross-over study.

Two test products and milk were consumed with a light standard breakfast on three separate occasions.

The two ice creams were formulated with either butter fat or coconut oil and fortified with calcium. The low-fat milk contained 1.7 per cent milk fat.

Absorption of calcium was found to be 26, 28 and 31 per cent from the butter fat ice cream, the coconut oil ice cream and milk, respectively, with no significant difference between them.

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