Newswise — The summer heat is coming. And that brings with it the excitement of ice cream, frozen yogurt and snow cones. 

So, just how nutritious are those summertime frozen treats? And do they really cool you down?

Food expert and dietician Suzy Weems, Ph.D., R.D., professor of family and consumer sciences at Baylor University, put the frozen goodies under the nutritional and rehydration microscope.

What she spotted may come as a surprise -- both in food value and the cool-down factor on a sweltering day, said Weems, who is a past chair of the American Dietetic Association's legislative and public policy committee.

Ice cream -- that darling of Norman Rockwell paintings -- is seen as loaded with Vitamin D and calcium.

In reality, "Not the most nutrient-rich source, but a source," Weems said. "It does have calcium along with Vitamin D, Vitamin A and some of the B-vitamins to help with energy release, along with about 2.5 to 3 grams of protein -- not much, but more than none." But there's the question of whether it's worth the calories -- about 145 for a half cup of vanilla, 160 for chocolate chip, depending on the brand and richness.

A scoop of frozen yogurt, then. Surely more virtuous? Fewer calories -- 117 for a half cup of vanilla, a little more calcium and protein but pretty much the same when it comes to health value, Weems says.

And flavored shaved iced, aka Sno-Cones or Sno-Wizards?

"Ninety calories per ounce of syrup -- one ounce equals about one pump -- while the sugar-free syrup has only about 3.5 calories," Weems says. That goes for flavors ranging from bubble gum to pistachio to red velvet cake to pink champagne. Even those bearing fruity names are basically sugar plus water, with little to commend them in the way of nutrition or replenishing fluid, she says.

"Sweetness doesn't quench your thirst, but few people are going to drink water after a snow cone," Weems says. For diehard snow cone lovers, though, she suggests the pickle-juice cone. Sour taste triggers the craving to drink, and when the thermometer climbs, "the more you drink, the more you sweat. When sweat evaporates, you're cooler."


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.