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What Happens When You Eat Ice Cream Every Day, Says Science

Once in a while is one thing, but how will eating this frozen dessert regularly affect your health?

If you love ice cream so much that you eat it every day, you're probably one of the one in 10 Americans who licks the bowl clean—which means, if you eat ice cream every day, you probably get a sticky nose every day.

Or say you prefer cones to bowls: At one scoop a day, you're giving your tongue a 50-lick workout daily. But that's nothing, really. The tongue is tenacious. "It doesn't fatigue," Maureen Stone of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry told Scientific American.

A daily ice cream treat habit, however, can affect your body in many ways, some more detrimental to your health than others. Before your cone melts, let's check out just how. And while you're making healthier choices, be sure to stock up on The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Your teeth might hurt

Woman with a toothpain.

According to the American Dental Association, up to 57% of the American population suffers from dentin hypersensitivity—you know, teeth that are sensitive to cold, hot, and acidic food and drink. It's caused when tooth enamel, the shell protecting your teeth, is reduced and the tooth nerve endings are exposed. If you suspect that may be a problem for you, eating ice cream every day will confirm it. Visit your dentist. Meanwhile, licking versus biting your ice cream may help.

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Under some circumstances it may help you build muscle

Woman with strong muscle arms doing push ups for exercise

The sugars in ice cream help promote muscle building and prevent protein breakdown with its powerful insulin spike, celebrity trainer and nutritionist Jay Cardiello told Men's Journal magazine. "Ice cream can be beneficial up to two hours after a workout," he said.

Breast cancer surgeon and triathlon competitor Dr. Kristi Fun believes there's some truth to ice cream being good for post-workout recovery, but cautions, "The critical question is how hard did you work out?" Dr. Travis Stork of The Doctors TV show says, "The majority of workouts are not going to warrant this." If you're not working out enough and eating ice cream every day, you can count this habit among the 8 Exercise Mistakes That Are Making You Gain Weight.

It may disrupt your sleep

sad and depressed black african American woman in bed sleepless late night feeling desperate looking worried and anxious suffering depression problem and insomnia sleeping disorder

Some people believe that a "nightcap" of a dish of ice cream helps soothe their mind and fall asleep quicker, which is nonsense. A pivotal study in the Journal of Sleep Medicine determined that eating low-fiber, high-saturated fat foods is associated with lighter sleep and more nighttime arousals. Consuming more sugar, especially at night, reduces the amount of deep, slow-wave, restorative sleep you get. An after-dinner mint chocolate chip or eating a lot of fatty food before bed isn't the answer to most people's sleep problems, says sleep expert Chris Winter, MD, author of The Sleep Solution. If you must have a treat before bed, eat a banana, which is rich in sleep-enhancing magnesium, suggests Dr. Winter. In addition to ice cream, avoid these 17 foods that keep you up at night if you want a restful sleep.

It may have a negative effect on your mood and brain health

Worried woman at home alone

High fat, high sugar foods like ice cream are harmful to the brain. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression, writes Eva Selhub, MD, in the Harvard Medical School Health blog. So, use that brain while it's still functional before making a daily habit of an ice cream like Magnum Double Cookie Crumble, which has 13 grams of saturated fat and 31 grams of sugars per two-thirds cup serving.

You'll likely gain weight

woman on scale weight loss

Ice cream seems like such a happy-go-lucky treat, it's hard not to smile when eating it. But ice-cream induced smiles daily may make you obese, turn you diabetic, and hurt your heart. Dozens of studies have linked high sugar consumption with weight gain.

You'll be at a higher risk of chronic dieseases

doctors appointment

And if you're gaining weight due to eating ice cream every day, you'll also experience an elevated risk of all the chronic health issues that come with it, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Eating massive bowls in one sitting may stop your heart

man having heart attack

Binge eating is never a good idea. Binge eating calorie-dense, high-fat, heavy foods like ice cream sundaes every day is particularly stupid. One study of heart attack patients in Israel found that people were more likely to have a heart attack or other serious coronary event in the hours following eating an unusually heavy meal. Doctors know what high fat, high sugar foods do to the body immediately after consumption: these foods trigger a sudden boost in insulin and triglycerides in the blood, raise blood pressure and heart rate and cause blood platelets to become sticky and clump. You guessed it: Clumpy platelets can clog your heart's plumbing, and the reduced blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack. Pass the spoon, and opt for 20 Foods That Can Help Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.

Jeff Csatari
Jeff Csatari, a contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, is responsible for editing Galvanized Media books and magazines and for advising journalism students through the Zinczenko New Media Center at Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA. Read more about Jeff
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