The dietitian Holly McCord invented the ice cream diet in 2002. The diet follows a strict calorie count plus ice cream. The cover of the book offers a variety of benefits: everything from easing PMS to preventing colon cancer. It all adds up to being the very definition of a fad diet. Moreover, you know it’s a fad diet when people online turn it into a three-day “detox” that will let you lose 20 pounds in 10 days. We’ve written before about the buzzword “detox” and the fact that doctors think it’s nonsense. However, some people swear by the ice cream diet.
To follow the diet, you eat 1,250 calories plus a cup of low-fat ice cream every day. Any diet that gives hard numbers for calories will not fit everybody or individualized health needs. The reason that the ice cream is included daily in the plan is that the book claims its calcium will speed weight loss and lower your colon cancer risk and blood pressure. The fact that it stresses the low-fat aspect of the ice cream gives us pause as dairy fat has been shown to have some benefits. The book also claims that the ice cream will fill you up and satiate hunger.
On the other hand, there is something to be said for de-fetishizing a treat while on a diet. When a person continuously denies themselves something, they want it can derail their goals, making them eat more of other things, or annihilating their resolve. A diet that doesn’t condemn a specific food and strike it from your life completely can be sensible and may work well for many people.
The book was published in 2002, and we have come a long way in understanding how our bodies process food since then. The advice in the book may help you lose weight, but any fad diet has the risk of going back to your old weight when you finish. Eating ice cream can be part of a healthy diet for many people. But a cup a day may be excessive depending on your health plan. Speak to a doctor or dietician about what’s best for you; they’ll give you better advice than any one-size-fits-all approach.