Can an Ice Cream Diet Be Good for You?

According to the newest diet featured in Prevention magazine, you can lose weight and eat ice cream once a day, too.

The trick is moderation, and eating healthy meals the rest of the day. While on the diet, women may have 1 cup of ice cream, and men may have 1½ cups per day. (You should use low-fat ice cream that contains 125 calories or fewer calories per half-cup serving, for a total of 250 calories for women, and 375 calories for men.)

The secret to the diet is the calcium. A recent study found that overweight people who took a calcium supplement lost 26 percent more body weight, and 38 percent more fat than those who ate the same reduced-calorie diet, minus the supplement. Another group in the study received calcium by eating three or four servings of dairy products totaling 1,200 or 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day, and lost 70 percent more weight, and 64 percent more fat on a high-dairy diet.

Experts say calcium helps people lose weight because when your body doesn't get enough calcium, it triggers fat cells to store fat and get bigger. In addition, ice cream helps satisfy dieters' cravings, so they do not feel as stong an urge to binge.

The complete plan appears in The Ice Cream Diet, a new book due out in August from St. Martin's Press. Meanwhile, here is a sample of the Ice Cream Diet Meal plan from Prevention. Select any combination of breakfast lunch, snack or dinner, and you can still afford the calories contained in the ice cream. The diet contains a total of 1,500 calories for women, and 2,000 for men.


Women, 330 calories; Men, 430 calories.

1. Bagel: Spread half of a 2.5- to 3-ounce bagel with 2 Tablespoons of reduced-fat cream cheese. Serve with 1 cup of fruit salad and 1 cup of fat-free milk. (Men can have a whole bagel.)

2. Bran Flakes with Blueberries: Top 1 cup of bran flakes with 1 teaspoon of sugar, if desired, 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, and 1 cup of fat-free milk. (Men: Add a slice of whole wheat toast spread with 2 teaspoons of diet margarine.)

3. Strawberry Slush: In a blender, combine 8 ounces of fat-free strawberry flavored yogurt (no more than 120 calories per cup), ½ cup of fresh or frozen strawberries, 1 teaspoon of sugar, a small ripe banana and several ice cubes. (Add the ice cubes one at a time.)

4. Frozen Waffles: Top 2 toaster waffles (check label and make sure they are no more than 170 calories for 2 waffles, e.g. Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Multi-Bran), with two teaspoons of maple syrup and 1 cup of fresh or frozen thawed strawberries, smashed. Serve with ½ cup of fat-free milk. (Men: Have 2 extra teaspoons of maple syrup, 2 teaspoons of light margarine and an extra ½ cup of fat-free milk.)

5. At Your Desk: Have breakfast bar (should contain no more than 150 calories, e.g. Kellogg's Nutri-Grain), an 8-ounce carton of fat-free milk, and a large apple. (Men: Take along a plastic snack bag with 6 apricot halves and 8 almonds.)


Average for women: 365 calories. Average for men: 430 calories.

1. Roast Beef Sandwich. Spread two slices of whole wheat bread with 1 teaspoon each of reduced-fat mayo and mustard. Add 2 thin slices of roast beef, 4 slices of tomato and romaine lettuce. Serve with a 6-ounce can of V-8. (Men using an extra teaspoon of reduced-fat mayo and an extra slice of roast beef.)

2. In the microwave: Microwave a frozen meal of 260 to 280 calories, such as Smart Ones Fire-Grilled Chicken and Vegetables, or Lean Cuisine Enchilada Suiza with Mexican-style Rice. Add a cup of raw veggies of your choice. (Men: Add a banana for dessert.)

3. Bean Burrito. Top a warmed 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla with 1/3 cup canned pinto beans (smashed), 4 Tablespoons of shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, and 3 Tablespoons of salsa. Roll up, and serve with 1 cup of baby carrots. (Men: Add a peach for dessert.)

4. Subway Sandwich: Have a 6-inch Subway Veggie Delite on wheat bread. Ask for 4 triangles of cheese of any type, 1 Tablespoon of light mayo, honey mustard, or Southwest dressing, and extra tomatoes or peppers. (Men: Add an apple for dessert.)

5. Salad bar: Take 1 cup of mixed greens, 3 Tablespoons of chick peas, 1 ½ cups of chopped raw veggies, ½ cup plain tuna, 2 Tablespoons of chopped egg or shredded cheese, and 3 Tablespoons of reduced-cal dressing. Have a small slice of bread. (Men: Add 2 tablespoons of croutons, and an extra slice of bread.)


Average for women: 165 calories, Average for men: 215 calories

1. Just Milk and Fruit. Drink an 8-ounce carton of fat-free milk, along with a piece of fruit of your choice. (Men: Add 5 bite-size pretzels.) 2. Yogurt Your Way. Have 1 cup (8 ounces) of fat-free yogurt in the flavor of your choice (no more than 120 calories per cup.) Serve with three dried plums (that's the sexy new name for prunes). (Men: Add 4 teaspoons of trail mix to the yogurt.) 3. Peach Smoothie. In a blender, combine 8 ounces of fat-free peach-flavored yogurt (no more than 120 calories, per cup) and a peeled ripe peach or ½ cup of canned peaches (in juice, not syrup). Add 1 or 2 ice cubes, and blend until smooth. (Men: add 1 large graham cracker.) 4. Fruit and Cheese. Slice a ripe pear or apple, and eat it with 1 ounce of room-temp reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (about the size of a one-inch cube). (Men: Add 4 reduced-fat Triscuits.) 5. Iced Café au Lait with Apricots. Mix together 1 cup of chilled fat-free milk with 1 cup of room-temp coffee and 1 teaspoon of sugar (if desired). Add ice, and serve with 6 dried apricot halves. (Men: Add 1 large graham cracker.)


Average for women: 390 calories, Average for men: 515 calories

1. Lentil soup with French bread. Heat 1½ cups of lentil soup (canned is fine). Serve with a large slice of French bread (about the size of a woman's hand) , spread with 2 teaspoons of margarine. Serve with ½ cup of red bell pepper strips. (Men: have an apple for dessert.) 2. Pizza. Have 1 slice of a large, 14-inch pizza (not thick crust) topped with 2 veggies, such as mushrooms and green bell pepper. Add a salad with 1 cup of mixed greens, ½ cup chopped veggies and 2 tablespoons of reduced-cal dressing. (Men: add a 12-ounce light beer.) 3. Pasta Dinner: Microwave a frozen pasta dinner of 300 to 330 calories, such as Healthy Choice Manicotti with Three Cheeses. Add a salad with 1 cup of mixed greens, ½ cup chopped veggies and 2 Tablespoons of reduced-cal dressing. (Men: add ½ tablespoon of dressing, and an orange.) 4. Wendy's Chili: Have a large chili and side salad. Use 1/3 packet of fat-free French dressing. (Men: top the chili with 2 Tablespoons of shredded Cheddar cheese, and have 3 packs of Saltines.) 5. Dinner at the mall: At Schlotzsky's Deli, have the small Dijon Chicken sandwich from the light and flavorful menu, plus a small garden salad with 1/3 packet of light Italian dressing. (Men: Have the small Santa Fe chicken, Chicken Club or Corned Beef Sandwich and the same salad.)

Prevention recommends a multivitamin/mineral supplement that includes 400 IU of vitamin D to help absorb calcium. You won't need calcium supplements, because this diet supplies all that you need.