Are we not a wee bit guilty after eating ice creams, considering the calories they are loaded with? What if ice creams are packed with healthier ingredients like antioxidants, probiotics and fibre?
This is not wishful thinking, going by the words of researchers from The University of Missouri-Columbia (UM-C).
Ingolf Gruen, professor of food chemistry and ice-cream researcher at the UM-C said, "The idea of putting a functional ingredient into a food instead of just using the nutrients found in the food naturally takes a multi-functional approach. Food provides calories and comfort - people want to indulge. We're working on making ice-cream satisfying and healthy."
According to Gruen, digestive health can be improved by adding nutrients such as probiotics that are already present in some dairy products and fibre. This way the source of many diseases which may begin with inflammation of the intestines can be reduced.
"Our major challenges are texture, flavour and psychological acceptance. The nutrients we add often have bitter tastes and affect the texture of ice-cream that we have to mask," Gruen said.
Chocolate flavours may do the trick. They are powerful flavours and might overpower the flavour of nutrients, researchers said.
The researchers intend to use the acai berry and grape extracts that are used in wine-making to add nutrients to ice-cream. Hopefully, the prototype would be ready by May 2010