CSIR-CFTRI healthy ice cream
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CSIR-CFTRI makes healthy synbiotic ice cream

Would you believe if a health-conscious person tells you that icecreams are healthy? After chocolates, ice creams are considered as the scariest food for fitness and health-conscious people. Ice creams are loaded with calories and fat with no fiber at all.

But the new healthy ice cream developed by scientists at CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) is a low-fat synbiotic ice-cream supplemented with probiotic Lactobacillus species and prebiotic beta‐manno‐oligosaccharides (beta‐MOS).

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Probiotics are living microorganisms that can confer health benefits if used in adequate amounts. They can improve bowel health, immune system, and sometimes carry anti-cancer effects. Curd and yogurt are rich sources of probiotics. Now ice cream is also joining the list.

Prebiotics can selectively improve the growth of beneficial microbes in our gut like Lactobacillus. Most of the dietary fibers are a popular source of prebiotics. A food supplement that includes both prebiotics and probiotics are called synbiotic, and they can effectively improve the growth of beneficial microbes in our gut.

Increasing health consciousness among the people has compelled scientists to develop food, which is not just delicious but provides health benefits besides regular nutrients. The new healthy ice cream by CSIR-CFTRI is one such food product.

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Dr. Mukesh Kapoor, the lead scientist, explained the reason behind choosing ice cream. Ice cream is nutritionally rich and popular among people of all age groups and socioeconomic status. That’s why the scientists thought it would be an ideal choice.

The new ice cream is rich in Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus fermentum as probiotics and prebiotic beta-MOS, a plant-derived fiber.

The ice cream was made of sugar, milk powder, fat, emulsifier, stabilizer, milk, vanillin with or without Fructooligosaccharide (FOS), or beta-MOS. FOS is a well-known prebiotic and was used for comparison.

They made different versions of ice creams like

  • Low-fat ice cream containing probiotic Lactobacillus species
  • Normal fat ice cream containing probiotic Lactobacillus spp.
  • Low-fat ice cream supplemented with beta-MOS and probiotic Lactobacillus
  • Low-fat ice cream supplemented with FOS and probiotic Lactobacillus species.

All the ice creams were stored in -20 degrees Celcius, just like the normal ice creams. The probiotic cultures in the icecream were able to survive such deep freezing and later could populate in extreme conditions in the stomach and intestine.

Unlike the ordinary low-fat ice creams, the synbiotic low-fat ice creams had the right consistency, viscosity, and flow behavior, the factors that make ice-creams likable. Besides, these ice creams were more brighter and whiter. Till the 40th day of storage, there was no reduction in the number of probiotics, but the number significantly reduced after 65th day.

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The probiotics should survive the extreme conditions in the stomach. The researchers tested this by growing probiotics in a simulated gastrointestinal environment. The results show that the presence of beta-MOS could improve the survival of Lactobacillus plantarum as well as Lactobacillus fermentum under gastric and intestinal stress.

The journal of Food Processing and Preservation published the results. Dr. Mukesh Kapoor, Principal Scientist, CSIR-CFTRI, and his students Shubhashini A and Deepesh Panwar conducted the study.


Author: Namitha HC

Shekhar Suman is the CEO & Managing Director of BioTecNika Info Labs Pvt Ltd, An avid reader who is passionate about Bio Sciences and has gifted us BioTecNika