The other night, while I was going hog-wild on a pint of something containing fudge, peanut butter, sprinkles and unicorn horn, I thought to myself, “If only there could be some health benefit to eating this.” Now I find out that a food scientist at the University of Missouri is tantalizingly close to squeezing all sorts of goodness into the gobs of gluttony in my ice cream.
The chemist, Ingolf Gruen, admits that there are already “functional” ice creams on the market with some healthy additives but that he’s working on a truly “multifunctional” dessert.
“I might be wrong, but the current “functional ice creams” have either probiotics, fiber or are antioxidant rich, but none that has all three,” he told DairyReporter.com.
He adds fiber through a modified malto-dextrin, Fiber-Sol2, antioxidants through an Acai puree, and probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosis and inulin.
Inulin, taken from chicory roots or artichokes, is intended to help with the growth of good intestinal bacteria, but it’s also a laxative, so Gruen says it’s very important that his team gets just the right amount of it in the ice cream.
The researchers say ice cream is a good way to deliver these healthy ingredients because the fact that it’s frozen takes out any issues of stability. Also, everyone loves ice cream: “We have been working on a “probiotic processed cheese” product and have not been very successful!”