Most of us love ice cream, but does it love us back? I’ve always wondered if ice cream really does make you poop, so I did some research, and here’s the truth.
Ice cream shouldn’t make you poop, instead, According to MedicineNet, ice cream may result in constipation due to the fact that ice cream is typically high in fat and lactose. That said, those who are lactose intolerant may experience diarrhea after eating ice cream.
Keep reading to learn more about why ice cream may cause constipation, as well as why it may cause diarrhea for certain groups of people and how you can avoid this.
Why Does Ice Cream Make You Constipated?
According to StyleCraze, dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream may result in constipation if you consume them in excess. The lactose found in dairy is the culprit, as it causes gas and bloating for many.
In fact, according to a study conducted on Iranian children, every child aged between 1 and 13 years of age was found to experience constipation as a result of their daily intake. Nearly 80% of the children who removed dairy from their diet experienced more regular bowel movements.
Another important factor to consider is that ice cream in particular is high in sugar and low in fiber. Although there may not be a direct link between ice cream and constipation, it does contain certain characteristics that can certainly lead to constipation.
To avoid constipation, it is recommended that you consume ice cream in moderation as part of a balanced, high-fiber diet.
Is It Okay to Eat Ice Cream Every Day?
As mentioned above, too much ice cream can be bad for your digestion, meaning that it is vital that you moderate your intake. It is therefore not recommended to eat ice cream every day, especially if you are watching your sugar and fat intake.
However, you can still enjoy ice cream up to twice per week! An added bonus would be to opt for ice cream that is lower in sugar and calories.
If you still experience adverse effects from ice cream after eating it in small quantities, it may be a sign that you have an intolerance or an allergy to the milk found in ice cream.
Diarrhea From Lactose Intolerance
If you are part of the 65 percent of the population that have an intolerance to lactose, then you can best believe that eating ice cream may be an issue for you. If you are lactose intolerant, you are deficient in a certain enzyme known as lactase that is typically produced in the small intestine.
With the absence of lactase, the lactose stays undigested in your gut and moves into your colon, where it interacts with the bacteria. This is why you may experience gas, bloat, cramping, and diarrhea. In terms of severity, this depends on your degree of intolerance to lactose and the quantity of ice cream you ate.
How Do You Know If You Are Lactose Intolerant?
According to Livestrong, it is advisable to take a lactose intolerance test if you suspect this may be the cause of your upset stomach. This test will help to determine the ability of your intestines to break down sugars, and this can be done via a blood test or a hydrogen breath test.
Additionally, you can prevent diarrhea after ice cream by taking the digestive enzyme, lactase, which is available in both tablet and liquid form, no prescription required! Simply chew the tablet form just before you enjoy your ice cream!
Diarrhea From Milk Allergy
If you have an allergy to milk, then you can experience diarrhea within moments of eating ice cream. Milk allergies are much more common thank you think, and this is typical in young children. This occurs due to an exaggerated immune system response to the presence of proteins found in milk.
How Do You Know If You Have a Milk Allergy?
According to Livestrong, you can expect to experience additional symptoms aside from diarrhea if you have an allergy, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Itching and tingling around the mouth
You may even experience anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening reaction that prevents you from breathing properly and requires treatment of epinephrine as soon as possible.
Want to learn more about the effects of milk and dairy on your digestion? Read our article here for some more interesting information!
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that causes pain in the abdomen that typically involves diarrhea or constipation after eating certain trigger foods. IBS is a common condition, affecting between 25 and 45 million Americans, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders.
With that being said, dairy products, including ice cream, are extremely common food triggers for IBS sufferers. If you notice that you develop diarrhea constantly after eating ice cream, then it is definitely a good idea to get tested for IBS by visiting your local doctor.
If you love your ice cream but can’t eat it due to any of the above reasons, then you may want to consider a dairy-free option!
Delicious Dairy-Free Ice Cream Recipe
The good news is that you can make your very own ice cream from home that is just as delicious and refreshing as dairy ice cream but without the nasty side effects! The recipe below is both tasty and easy to make, so keep reading to learn how you can make your very own:
- 1 can (13.5 oz) whole coconut milk
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (gluten-free thickener)
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- Optional Add-Ins: 1/2 cup chopped strawberries, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc.
Step 01. Toss all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until thick and creamy, for 1-2 min. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
Step 02. Place the mixture into an ice-cream maker and mix according to the instructions (you may only need half the amount of the recommended mixing time, as it thickens pretty rapidly.) If you are adding toppings, slowly add them during the last 5 minutes of mixing.
Step 03. You may serve this straight away if you wish for a soft, smoother feel. Otherwise, move the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze it for 30-60 minutes for a slightly harder texture.
Insider tip: For best enjoyment, I recommend eating it shortly after it has been churned. This is because it will have a soft, velvety texture and can be enjoyed as is straight away. If you like it a little firmer, you can leave it in the freezer for 30 minutes. If you choose to freeze it for longer, bear in mind that it will need to soften at room temperature before you serve it.
While many people are able to enjoy ice cream without experiencing diarrhea or digestive aches, if you are one of the people who cannot tolerate dairy, you can still enjoy dairy-free ice cream as an alternative. Even if you don’t have an intolerance, it is still strongly advised that you eat ice cream in moderation with a balanced, high-fiber diet in order to avoid constipation.