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Cravings when cutting are an incredibly common occurrence and something that will often peak craving is a sugary treat – like a dessert. Something most people have hidden away in the freezer (even when cutting) is a tub of ice cream.
It’s a guilty pleasure and even though you might not be eating it by the tub in one sitting, it’s still a food that could be preventing you from losing weight on a cut, especially if you’re a person wondering can you eat ice cream while cutting and get away with it!
Well, it’s not a good food choice for cutting – we’ll tell you that straight away – but there are some hacks and tricks we have so that you can still enjoy ice cream while cutting so read on…
Can You Eat Ice Cream While Cutting?
Yes, you can eat ice cream when cutting, however, try to avoid full-fat ice cream. Low-calorie ice creams are a popular product that will satisfy cravings and satiety when cutting but will do so with fewer than 100 calories per serving.
What is Ice Cream
Ice cream is exactly what the name describes, frozen cream. Frozen cream for the purpose of cutting is also frozen milk, something we’ve covered in-depth here (can you drink milk when cutting).
The verdict for milk is that you should avoid it when cutting and try to have milk alternatives that are lower in calories and fat, but does ice cream have the same issue. Well, ice cream is not just cream/milk but also a mixture of sugar and all of these ingredients are high in calories and not very satiating.
This means when you eat ice cream on a cut, you’ll have more calories but also not feel full afterward. This then leads to more cravings and a huge issue when trying to stick to a calorie-restricted diet.
Ice Cream Calories
The nutritional value for 100g of vanilla ice cream is the following:
When cutting, you want to balance out your macro intake and the above is not a good macro split for someone cutting and looking to lose body fat. When carbs and fat are both significantly higher than the protein from a portion of food, it’s a sign that it’s a much better bulking food than a cutting one.
Why Is Ice Cream Bad for Cutting
Ice cream isn’t necessarily bad when cutting, no food is truly bad when it comes to body composition. What’s more important is that you utilize the macros and calories based on your goals. As mentioned above, the macro split for ice cream is not beneficial for cutting.
When cutting, you will be in a calorie deficit and therefore you’ll want to maintain muscle mass while losing body fat. The aim is not to lose bodyweight but to lose body fat. A high protein intake is therefore important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, research shows that a higher protein intake when dieting is beneficial for maintaining lean muscle tissue and minimizing muscle loss.
If your aim is to look better, you want to lose body fat and still maintain your current level of lean muscle tissue. You’ll not only feel better but you’ll also look and perform significantly better.
The second reason is that protein is highly satiating. When you’re calorie-restricted, you’ll want to minimize hunger wherever possible and ensure that you feel fuller for longer. A higher protein intake reduces hunger and makes it marginally easier to follow a cutting diet.
Carbohydrates and fats make up a huge 95% of the macro ratio for a 100g serving of ice cream. This is not a good macro ratio for cutting from a single food group and it makes it very hard to balance out your daily calories to be more favorable when you only have so many calories each day to work with.
Ice cream may same like a small treat but the drawbacks far outweigh any benefits when it comes to cutting and there are much better “treat” options if you really need something sweet.
How to Eat Ice Cream While Cutting
Ok, we’ve established that ice cream is not good when cutting and that you should probably avoid it where possible. This kind of restriction isn’t great when dieting though so I have some tips that can help you still enjoy ice cream – even when cutting.
Not all heroes wear capes, right?
1) Low-Calorie Ice Cream
The first technique for eating ice cream when cutting is to opt for some low-calorie ice creams. These relatively new products have been greatly received by the general public as a low-calorie way to enjoy a treat.
These low-calorie ice creams won’t have the same creamy texture as whole milk options but they definitely still satisfy that craving.
The best brand leading the market at the moment is Halo Top which has really led the industry when it comes to a low-calorie ice cream that still tastes great. These options have much more favorable macros than regular ice cream. A 100g serving has the following nutritional properties:
When compared with regular ice cream, this option has close to half the calories, less sugar, significantly less fat, and slightly more protein per serving. While the macro split still isn’t ideal, this is an ice cream that you can work into a cutting diet with much greater ease.
Check out the Halo Top range here
2) High Volume Protein Ice Cream
Something I’ve come across recently for making a cut easier is high-volume foods. I already know foods like salads and volume meals that are low in calories but fill you up and reduce hunger throughout the day. What I didn’t know is how many hacks people have to increase the volume of certain foods.
One great hack I’ve come across is volume ice cream. There are recipes that involve blending protein powder, water, ice, and alternative milk in order to create a highly voluminous meal that’s also low in calories. These homemade volume ice creams are significantly larger than store-bought options but come with fewer calories making them ideal for someone cutting.
Check out the video below for a recipe showing a high volume, low-calorie ice cream:
3) Cheat Meal
I’m not the biggest fan of a cheat meal because it leads to a cheat day which leads to people failing their diet because of temptation and a negative mindset when it comes to food – especially from restricted diets. What is true however is that some people thrive off a cheat meal once per week.
You need a certain mentality for this but if you can have one cheat meal and feel mentally and emotionally satisfied, cheat meals can actually be a diet savior and help people stick to a cut. The key to having a cheat meal though is to account for it in your weekly calorie intake.
If you know you want high-calorie ice cream on Sunday, you need to plan to ensure your weekly caloric intake is still in a deficit. Therefore, if you know you’ll have a 350kcal serving, you’d need to reduce your daily calories by 50kcal for that week in order to allow for this.
If you try to cut all of those calories from other foods on the day you’ll have the ice cream, you’ll find it much harder than if you only had to cut a fraction of this each day over the space of the week. This kind of planning is what allows people to follow a flexible diet and still achieve fat loss.
How many of us can truly say a cut is easy. No matter who it is, there’s going to be that one food that you just can’t (or don’t want to) give up when cutting and for many, that food is ice cream.
Unfortunately, as ice cream is so high in calories and has an unfavorable macronutrient split for cutting and weight loss, it’s not something you should consume when cutting. You could, however, make use of low-calorie ice creams and homemade volume ice creams which are more calorie friendly.
Low-calorie ice cream like Halo Top or other store brand options is a great way to still enjoy ice cream when cutting without the guilt or if you enjoyed the video earlier, making your own low calorie but high volume ice cream could be a real game-changer and help you successfully stick to your cut.