On a warm day, there’s nothing better than a cone of your favourite ice cream. Be it chocolate, strawberry or butterscotch, a perfect scoop of ice cream is usually the main feature of all our summers. But have you noticed that after eating ice cream, you tend to feel quite thirsty? That’s not a coincidence, that’s science in action! Let’s look at why your favourite sugary snack makes you thirsty.
When you eat sugary foods like ice cream, they get absorbed into your bloodstream quickly and increase the concentration of sugar in your blood. As a result, the cells in the body release the water they hold to bring the concentration of blood back to normal. Now, having lost their water, the cells trigger a signal to your brain to replenish its water supply. The brain makes you feel thirsty, you drink water and the cells get hydrated again! The part of the brain that in particular controls thirst is called the hypothalamus.
But when it comes to ice cream, it’s not just the sugar that makes you thirsty, it’s also the salt. You read that right, ice cream has salt in it. It helps the sweet ingredients taste better and also brings down the freezing point of the water in ice cream. That’s why when you eat ice cream it has a smooth texture and the water in the ice cream doesn’t turn into crunchy ice. Speaking of freezing points, have you ever wondered why ice cream is served in paper cups? Here’s a hint, it has something to do with its temperature. Watch this video to know more!
Salt has a tendency to absorb water from its surroundings which means when you eat salt, you need to replenish the water it absorbs by drinking more water. So when you eat ice cream, the salt in it absorbs water from your body, triggering a thirst response in your brain.
When you drink water after eating ice cream, it helps restore the concentration of sugar in your blood. Another way to avoid feeling thirsty after eating ice cream is to try making ice cream at home, that way you can control the amount of sugar and salt you put in it. Here are some DIY homemade ice cream recipes you can try. You can also try making and eating popsicles made out of fruit juices since they are generally lower in sugar and will not make you feel as thirsty after eating them.
Apart from sugary snacks, another kind of food can make us feel thirsty when we eat them – oily food. The reason for this is that most deep-fried food has a lot of salt in it. This again is done to bring out the flavour in these foods but a high level of salt is not always healthy for the body and also triggers a thirst response in your brain.
Do you have any questions about your favourite snacks to ask us? Tell us in the comments below and we may feature your question on The Learning Tree Blog!
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Deepthi is an ambivert who is on a steady diet of good food, filter coffee, and self-improvement. Being an ardent reader, storytelling has been her first love and she enjoys exploring how to convey stories compellingly. Having studied psychology and experienced the learning and development field, Deepthi is driven to understand human behavior and to know what makes each of us unique. You are most likely to find her tucked into a cozy corner at a local cafe with a Kindle or a book in hand. If you find her there, stop by and say hello, she'd be eager to learn your story too. Until then, you can ping her at [email protected] for anything you may like to share.