Ice cream vs Custard - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Ice cream is one of the most famous refreshing desserts. It is mainly made with cream, milk/milkfat, sugar, and flavourings. Ice cream is considered as a dairy dessert, mainly due to the fact that it’s made with butterfat, milk/milk fat or cream.
There are different types of ice cream, other than flavours, the fat content can make a difference. Ice cream can be sold as light fat, reduced fat, low, and full fat. The lowest fat content of ice cream is the light fat which contains 5% milk fat. The upper range of fat content is 10-15%.
There can be different ice cream flavors, from fruity flavors like banana, strawberry, melon, to creamy flavors like brownies, vanilla, and chocolate.
Custard is not very different from ice cream as they have the same basic ingredients; milk, cream, and sugar. However, an additional main ingredient is added on custard which is egg yolk. Flour or cornstarch can also be added as ingredients to give it more solid texture, however this is optional. The two most common flavours of custard are vanilla and chocolate. Other flavours can also be available but not as common, these flavors are; raspberry, strawberry, and mango. These flavours are usually in the form of powdered custard and synthetic.
Nutritional content comparison
The fat content of ice cream is 11g compared to the fat content of custard which is 4g. This makes the fat content of ice cream much higher than custard’s.
Ice cream compared to custard contains higher amounts of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats. However, custard contains more cholesterol and this is due to the additional egg yolk as a main ingredient in it’s preparation.
The daily recommendation of saturated fat is less than 20g. Ice cream’s saturated fat content is 6.79g and custard contains 2.03g of saturated fat.
Milk contains 2.9g of monounsaturated fat compared to custard which contains 1.1g.
Custard, having additional egg yolk in its ingredients, has more cholesterol relative to ice cream. The cholesterol of custard is 51mg compared to ice cream which is 44mg.
Ice cream has a higher fat content and custard contains higher amounts of cholesterol.
The protein content of ice cream and custard are nearly similar, with a small difference that is negligible. Ice cream contains 3.5g of proteins compared to custard which contains 3.4g of proteins.
Ice cream compared to custard contains higher amounts of carbohydrates 23.6g, whereas custard contains 17.6g of carbohydrates.
Ice cream contains higher amounts of sugars compared to custard, as the sugar content of ice cream at 21.22g and for custard 4.82g.
The sugar content of ice cream is 4.4x higher than that of custard.
Custard is considered as a low glycemic food, with a glycemic index of 38. On the other hand, ice cream is considered as a medium glycemic index food, with a glycemic index of 61.
Custard has far less calories per 100g compared to ice cream. Custard has 110 calories whereas ice cream has 313 calories.
Vitamin content comparison
Ice cream and custard have mainly similar vitamin profiles. The similar vitamins are vitamin A, B2, B5 and D.
The vitamin profile of both ice cream and custard are as following:
- Vitamin A: 421 IU for ice cream and 182 IU for custard
- Vitamin B2: Similar in both at 0.24mg for ice cream and 0.22mg for custard
- Vitamin D: 0.2 mcg for ice cream where as for custard its 1.2mcg
- Vitamin B5: 0.58mg for ice cream and 0.7mg for custard
Thus making ice cream richer in vitamin A and B2, and custard relatively richer in vitamin D and B5.
An additional vitamin that is relatively higher in ice cream than custard is the vitamin C at 0.6mg
The daily requirement is between 65 and 95mg.
Mineral content comparison
Custard and ice cream are composed of similar minerals, however, with different distributions
- Calcium: custard contains 139mg compared to ice cream which contains 128mg. With a daily requirement of 1000mg
- Sodium: custard contains 84 mg and ice cream contains 80mg. Similar sodium content for both.
- Potassium: Custard contains 207mg of potassium compared to ice cream which contains 199mg. The potassium content similar to sodium can be considered similar for both of them.
- Zinc: Custard contains 0.51mg and ice cream 0.69mg. With a daily requirement of 11mg for men and 8mg for women.
An additional mineral present in custard is selenium which is 6mcg with a daily requirement of 55mcg.
Both ice cream and custard contain cholesterol which must be taken into consideration for individuals who suffer from high cholesterol problems. For individuals with normal cholesterol levels, both should be consumed in moderate amounts. (1)
Ice cream contains probiotic characteristics than influence the gut bacteria, the normal flora. (2)
The high content of sugars and the high glycemic index of ice cream is related to increased risk of acne development and severity in teenagers. In order to prevent this, moderation of ice cream should be consumed by teenagers or young adults with acne. Alternatives to ice cream with lower amounts of sugar, like custards are a better option. (3)
For diabetic individuals it is preferable to consume custard compared to ice cream due to its lower glycemic index which prevents insulin levels to spike up, and to the lower amounts of sugars. (4)
Ice cream has a wider flavour range than custard. Thus it has a higher difference in it’s mineral, vitamin, and micronutrient composition.
A plain vanilla ice cream has a different fat and carbohydrate specifically sugar content compared to strawberry or cheesecake ice cream.
On the other hand, custard can be home-made or bought in powder form. The basic flavors are vanilla and chocolate, however, additional flavors can be found, strawberry and raspberry for example. Usually, there is not much variation in their compositions.
Custards however, can be found differently around europe, it can range from a common dessert to a gourmet dessert. Different preparation methods can be made, like addition of caramel, chocolate syrup, whipped cream among others. The nutritional profile of all these variations must be taken into consideration while preparing or consuming these types of custards.
Ice cream and custard can be made to be non-dairy with alternative ingredients to milk and eggs in case of custard. Soy milk, almond milk can be used as milk alternatives. Instead of eggs, bananas or other alternatives can be used. This makes the nutritional profile of both desserts highly different, with lower amounts of cholesterol and fats which are of one of the main concerns while consuming these foods.
Another important note on both ice cream and custard is the methods of preparations. Some ice cream and custard producers add additives into them which can be harmful to the gut microbiome and develop problems in the long run. Avoiding ice cream and custards that have additional additives and conservatives in them is recommended.
In summary, ice cream is richer in zinc vitamin A, B2 and C. It has higher amounts of carbohydrates, fats, a higher glycemic index and calories. In comparison, custard is richer in calcium, selenium, vitamins D and B5 , and cholesterol. The content of protein, sodium and potassium is similar.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|
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