Posted by: rjgage | October 25, 2008

Lose weight by eating ice cream in just one easy step!

Dear friends,

Did you know that you can lose weight by eating ice cream?  I was sitting at dinner the other day and I learned from an enlightened friend that the energy it takes to heat up really cold ice cream not only burns the calories in the ice cream itself but in fact is calorie-negative.  Pretty sweet, huh?  Check it out:

The energy intensity of ice cream, according to Haagen Dazs, is about 270 Cal/106 g = 2.55 Cal/g.

And now how much energy does it take to raise the temperature of that Haagen Dazs from 20 degrees F to 98.6 degrees F.  Frozen ice cream has a specific heat of about 0.4 calories per gram degree Celsius.  This means that eating the ice cream will burn about (.4)*(98.6-20)*(5/9) = 17 cal/g.

This means that for each gram of ice cream you eat, you burn 17-2.55 = 14.45 calories!  Or is it Calories?

Wow!  This is amazing!  I can’t believe that you can lose weight by eating ice cream!  We can probably lose mad weight by drinking ice water too!  But why would you do that if you can eat Haagen Dazs?

You’re welcome, Math 152.



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  1. Hehe, so why aren’t we all skinny then? Who can spot the problem with this? He’s given you a hint…

  2. While a nice play in number on paper, practically speaking the body does not need to burn extra calories to heat up by the amount lost due to the consumption of ice-cream.

    Body heat typically is thermic waste. Unless you immerse yourself in ice water, the amount of calories burnt to generate extra heat is 0.

  3. HealthySceptic: It seems it must be true that the ambient temperature affects whether you burn energy you might not have otherwise to melt the ice-cream. If it’s a hot day, you are burning energy to cool off by sweating and sending your blood to your skin, etc (nevermind fanning yourself with your hands!). So eating ice cream could conceivably help you burn less energy in such a situation. Seems reasonable to me.

    There’s an even more fundamental problem, though…

  4. Hate to break it to you, but food calories are actually kilocalories…

    OTOH, the recommended temperature for a freezer is 0°F, so, at least that helps! Oh, and there is actually a fair bit of energy required to transition from frozen to liquid, so that helps some too.

  5. Holy crap Anthony… so you mean the 5 gallons of Haagen Dazs that I’ve eaten since last night actually had POSITIVE 10,240,000 calories? Man, I better hit the gym…

  6. Wow, Jack, you really got stuck with a good automatically generated icon. Kind of like Alien meets Flatland.

    Flatland the movie trailer

  7. I love it! I can eat my favorite treat to my heart’s content!

  8. rjgage, yep.

    The good news is that when someone tells you “doing workout X burns Y calories”, they’re talking kilocalories too. At least there’s some good news!

    Wikipedia, of course, has an article:

  9. Cal = kcal = 1000 cal

  10. I can see where you goig with this,, ice cream is cold and 1 calorie heats 1 litre of water by 1 degree but thats all it does it can’t enumilate all the carbs and saturated fat ur shoving into your mouth so effectivly you would gain weight eventually.

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