Disease Proof

Examining Frozen Sugar Water

Personally, I’ve never looked at a snow cone or Italian Ice and said, “Gee, what a nutritious fat-free snack.” It’s frozen sugar water! Sugar plus water isn’t exactly the blueprint for nutrient-density. But in case you didn’t know that, Kimberly Garrison of The Philadelphia Inquirer examines a Philly tradition, the water ice:
There are nearly 300 calories and 17.25 teaspoons of sugar in a typical 12-ounce serving. That's about five teaspoons more sugar than is found in a typical 12-ounce can of soda.


A 150-pound woman would have to walk at a pace of 3 mph for an hour to burn off that treat. If she's pressed for time, she could simply jump rope vigorously for about 30 minutes.

For the record, when my mom was growing up, she recalls that water ice came in a 4-ounce cup. That's half the size of today's kid's cup at local water-ice stands.

To quote a late-'80s song by Public Enemy, "Don't, Don't, Don't, Don't believe the hype" when you see the phrase "Fat Free."

Don't be misled by our national fat-free fixation. Sure, you'll save a few calories because the fat has been removed. But, fat free, I repeat, is not calorie free!

Remember that the next time you order a large water ice. Which, by the way, is nearly 19 ounces and 450 calories. That's a lot of excess calories, and it doesn't even include the "fat-free" pretzel many people get with their water ice.
When I read about sugar I always think about soda or soft drinks. Let’s face it, what’s the difference between a can of Sprite and a snow cone—thirty-two degrees? So with that in mind, check out this information on soda consumption and obesity. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young…


…Soft drinks and processed foods are full of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is not only fattening, but this inexpensive and ultra-concentrated sugar has no resemblance to real food made by nature. It is another experiment thrust upon our unsuspecting children with unknown dangerous consequences. Besides sugar, corn syrup, and chemicals, these drinks often contain caffeine, an addictive stimulant. Children crave more and more as they get older. By adolescence most children have become soft-drink addicts. It is no surprise that six out of the seven most popular soft drinks contain caffeine. Contrast this high level of sugary “liquid candy” with the meager intake of fresh produce by children and teenagers, and it is no surprise that we have an obesity epidemic beyond all expectations.
But I understand, the weather is getting warmer and the temptation is there, so, if you simply must have a frozen sweet treat, give these a whirl. From DiseaseProof’s recipe category:
Strawberry Ice Scream

1 cup orange juice
2 slices dried pineapple
12 oz. frozen strawberries

Place all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix. Blend until creamy smooth. If you do not have a VitaMix, you may have to soak the dried pineapple in the orange juice overnight to soften sufficiently to blend in a regular blender or food processor.
Watermelon Ices

5 cups seedless watermelon
1/2 cup raisins

Blend watermelon and raisins in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix until they form a creamy liquid. Pour into paper cups and freeze for one hour only. Remove partially frozen treat from the freezer. Blend again, spoon the mixture back into the cups, and place back in the freezer until served.


1. French SA, Lin BH, Guthrie JF. National trends in soft drink consumption among children and adolescents age 6 to 17 years: prevalence, amounts, and sources, 1977/1978 to 1994/1998. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103(10):1326-1331.
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