How to calculate the calories in gelato is clearly hard to know. There are many flavors with different techniques that it is very difficult to setup a standard calories calculation.
Is it accurate to only calculate the calories of a gelato, considering the calories of each component, or should we also consider the calories burnt by the body? The second hypothesis has been made by Dr. Brian Weiner, New Jersey.
He believes that whatever contains ice or whatever has been frozen should use a different method to calculate calories: icals. This is a number that you have from the total calories of the ingredients after deducting the calories needed to bring the gelato to body temperature.
When you eat a frozen food, your brain sends a message to warm up the body because of the unknown cold food. When the ice reaches the stomach, it will have approximately same temperature as the body. This process requires energy. Dr. Weiner estimated 5 calories to warm up 25 grams of ice.
He believes all the gelato labels about calories are wrong. If they show 100 calories, they are not deducting the calories needed to melt the ice digesting and therefore the real calories are 72!
How the calories are calculated?
The method to calculate calories in food has been created more than 100 years ago by Wilbur Olin Atwater, an agronomist.
Using a special device (bomb calorimeter) he simply burn samples of food and then calculate the quantity used while they were burning. He found out that each gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories, each gram of fat is 9 calories and each gram of protein is 4 calories. These are average numbers that don’t consider the modifications because the preparation and the cooking methodology of the food.
This is still the method generally used, and it also applies to gelato.
Let’s start calculating the sum of energy values of the gelato components using the following parameters:
1 gr sugar = 4 kcalories
1 gr fat = 9 kcalories
1 gr proteine and fiber = 4 kcalories
1 gr other solid components = 4 kcalories
1 gr ethyl alcohol = 7 kcal
The nutrition value of the gelato can be determined based on the following:
- The percentage of sugar (including lactose)
- The percentage of fat (milk, cream, vegetal fat) and the ones included in the flavoring added components
- The percentage of proteins (milk, eggs, nuts)
To give an example, if we have 100 gr of gelato with 18% sugar, 8% fat, 10% Sign and 1% of other solid components we will have the following calories:
18% * 4 = 72 kcal
8% * 9 = 72 kcal
10% * 4 = 40 kcal
1% * 4 = 4 kcal
With a total of 188 Kcal
Source: The Ice Diet, the Vegan Scoop by Paci