If you ask someone to describe ice cream, “healthy” is unlikely to be included in their thoughtful description—unless you’re asking a 10-year-old who thinks he’s a genius. But that 10-year-old might be on to something.
The frozen dessert has health benefits, according to Harvard’s Department of Nutrition. In the year In 2018, a Harvard doctoral student named Andres Ardison Korat came to a strange conclusion during a study: People with diabetes who eat a cup of ice cream a day have a lower risk of heart disease, The Atlantic reported.
The discovery stumped Harvard researchers. It didn’t make any sense. How can sugary dairy produce such results?
“There are few plausible biological explanations for these results,” Ardison Korat wrote in his review of the “unexpected” findings.
Scientists are still puzzled by Ardison Korat’s findings – they defy all logic.
“To this day, I don’t have an answer to it,” Mark A. Pereira, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, told The Atlantic.
A Harvard nutrition team continues its search for answers. Over the years, researchers have reviewed previous studies, considered new hypotheses and conducted dozens of experiments. Ardison Korat’s study was not the first to produce such results.
In the 1980s, Harvard researchers began collecting “food frequency questionnaires” and medical data from thousands of health care workers. The university’s first observational study of type 2 diabetes and dairy was released in 2005 – based on data collected between 1986 and 1998. The researchers found that eating low-fat dairy products is associated with a lower risk of diabetes.
“Almost all of the risk reduction was associated with low-fat or non-fat dairy foods,” Harvard’s news bulletin The Atlantic reported.
According to the results, men who consumed two or more servings of skim or low-fat milk a day had a 22 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. According to the study, men who ate two or more servings of ice cream per week had similar results.
The concept is backed by “real-world evidence.” YouTuber and online trainer Anthony Howard Crowe shed 32 pounds and saw improvements in his blood work after consuming ice cream and protein supplements for 100 days. But the process was not pleasant.
“This diet was, hands down, without a doubt, the worst diet adventure I’ve ever embarked on,” Howard-Crow told Men’s Health.
Over the course of nearly a decade, few studies have had similar findings. While the results continue to baffle researchers, nothing has been proven wrong.
There’s a lot of science that the average Joe (like myself) doesn’t understand much about – but if scientists say ice cream has health benefits, I’m happy to roll it.