Nutri-babble: EVE SIMMONS says fake food CAN be as good as the real thing

The famous ice cream is composed entirely of synthetic ingredients 

The famous ice cream is composed entirely of synthetic ingredients 

Mr Whippy fans may have been surprised last week to learn that their favourite frozen treat is entirely synthetic – made without real vanilla, eggs or cream.

A new report by consumer watchdog Which? reviewed 24 brands of vanilla ice cream on supermarket shelves and found that the frighteningly bright yellow tubs are not packed with pricey and endangered Madagascan vanilla but rather additives and ‘unnatural’ ingredients including skimmed milk powder, sugar, emulsifiers, vanilla flavouring and vegetable fats such as palm oil.

I don’t think we needed a scientist to tell us this. But the ‘clean eating’ brigade were, of course, up in arms.

E-numbers, preservatives and so-called ‘fake foods’ are the wellness warrior’s cyanide.

Anything that isn’t ‘natural’ is harmful for our bodies, they say. But according to biology, they are deeply mistaken.

In fact, the effect of ultra- processed ice cream on the body is marginally different from a scoop of ’s finest gelato. 

According to Helen Munday, food scientist at the Food and Drink Federation, E-numbers and additives need not be so scary. 

‘Many additives can be found in nature. Even if they’re replicated using chemicals, your body can’t tell the difference,’ says Helen.

‘An E-number is merely a number given to an ingredient authorised as safe to eat by the European food safety authority. Citric acid – from citrus fruits – for example, is otherwise known as E330.

‘Thickeners and emulsifiers – often used to stop eggs separating – can be extracted from seaweed, soy beans, eggs, chicory and artichokes. Cellulose is a common bulking agent. It’s very high in fibre and can protect against certain cancers.’

Thickeners and emulsifiers – often used to stop eggs separating – can be extracted from seaweed, soy beans and eggs

Thickeners and emulsifiers – often used to stop eggs separating – can be extracted from seaweed, soy beans and eggs

Skimmed milk powder is a low-fat and more convenient way of transporting milk, boasting pretty much the same nutritional properties as the liquid form.

Helen says: ‘It simply means that

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