Ditch the ice lollies! Scientists say ice creams with a hard chocolate coating are the best to enjoy during the heatwave as the external shell’s higher melting point offers a layer of protection to the soft interior
- Scientists put 10 icy treats to the test by replicating summer conditions in the lab
- They measured their consistency, shape, size and melt rate
- Findings show chocolate-covered ice creams resist melting at 30°C
- At the other end of the scale, some popular ice lollies begin to melt at just 17°C
With parts of Britain expected to hit 93°F (33.8°C) today, many Brits will find relief from the heat in the form of a delicious ice cream.
But which ice cream is the best at keeping you cool amid the UK heatwave?
While you might think it would be a refreshing ice lolly, a new study suggests that ice creams with a hard chocolate coating actually fare the best in hot weather.
This is because the external shell offers an extra layer of protection to the soft interior, according to the researchers.
Which ice cream is the best at keeping you cool amid the UK heatwave? While you might think it would be a refreshing ice lolly, a new study suggests that ice creams with a hard chocolate coating actually fare the best in hot weather
Dr Edward Breeds put 10 different icy treats to the test by replicating summer conditions in the lab and measuring their consistency, shape, size and melt rate.
What temperature can your favourite withstand?
- Vimto Twist lollies – 17°C
- Capri-Sun Freezies – 21°C
- Ice Breakers – 22°C
- Swizzels Love Hearts Giant Cherry & Orange Creamy Ice Lollies – 22°C
- Iceland’s Solo Exotic Burst Lollies – 26°C
- Slush Puppie Original Strawberry and Blue Fusion Lollies – 28°C
- Iceland’s Strawberry & Vanilla Cones – 28°C
- Belgian Milk Chocolate Majestics – 30°C
In the study, which was commissioned by Iceland, Dr Edward Breeds, Principal Lecturer in Physics at Nottingham Trent University, set out to uncover the best types of ice creams to eat during heatwaves.
‘Whilst a little melting is crucial to create an optimal licking experience, choosing an ice cream or lolly carefully to suit the great British weather of the day will ensure that no-one ends up with sticky hands from a dripping dessert,’ Dr Breeds said.
The researcher put 10 different icy treats to the test by replicating summer conditions in the lab and measuring their consistency, shape, size and melt rate.
‘The temperature, as well as weather factors such as wind and humidity, all play their part when it comes to ensuring our chosen ice cream or lolly remains in its optimum state the longest,’ he explained.
‘The shape and size of our chosen dessert also has an influence, as the surface area to volume ratio affects how energy is transferred from our surroundings and ourselves to the ice cream or lolly.’
His assessment suggests that chocolate-covered ice creams are the best overall, with the hard shell’s higher melting point offering a layer of protection to their soft interior.
These ice creams were found to withstand temperatures exceeding 30°C.
However, cone-shaped ice creams were also found to be effective on hot days, according to Dr Breeds.
Their shape limits exposure to heat from our hands, meaning they can withstand temperatures of 28°C degrees for as long as 40 minutes without melting.
At the other end of the scale, Vimto Twist lollies were found to be the least effective in a heatwave.
The treat’s cylindrical shape means they have a high surface area to volume ratio, meaning they begin melting at just 17°C.
‘I’d personally encourage people to consider a chocolate coated ice cream for a hot summer’s day, as its external shell has a higher melting point, providing the perfect barrier to keep an ice cream cool,’ Dr Breeds explained.
‘As we all know, though, the weather can often turn a little cooler, and ice creams with a smooth and silky texture are probably best reserved for enjoyment then.’
The study comes as the Met Office has issued an amber extreme heat warning for the next four days, while the UK Health and Security Agency put the UK on a level three heat-health alert, and the AA warned the searing heat could cause tyres to blow out on the motorways.
Families enjoying their summer holidays will see tropical temperatures from today as London is expected to reach 86F (30C) ahead of the Met Office’s amber warning which comes into force from tomorrow until midnight on Sunday, with temperatures expected to climb to 97F (36C) in some places.
Drought: What is it and how can the effects be tackled?
As England faces a drought in August if the hot and dry weather continues, here is a look at what is happening and how the situation is being managed.
– How is a drought defined?
Droughts are natural events which occur when a period of low rainfall creates a shortage of water, and
they reduce water supplies to different users.
The Environment Agency (EA) says it is important to note that there is no single definition.
Even though a drought is caused by a period of low rainfall, the nature, timing and effects on people, the environment, agriculture or businesses will vary.
Some droughts are short and intense – for example a hot, dry summer – while others are long and take time to develop over multiple seasons.
– Are there levels or stages?
The EA said there are four stages of drought – prolonged dry weather, drought, severe drought and recovering drought.
– What is currently happening in England?
Spring and summer have been dry, with the recent high temperatures acting as additional pressures.
The country is not in widespread drought but most of England except for the North West has moved into a state of ‘prolonged dry weather’, the step before drought is declared, raising the spectre of restrictions such as hosepipe bans.
Officials said people will start seeing visual signs of low water levels.
Much of the country already has low river flows, affecting the quality and quantity of water, with impacts on farmers and other water users, as well as wildlife.
– What measures can water companies take to manage demand?
The EA said water companies can introduce temporary use bans to reduce usage and protect supplies during a drought.
A company does not require any approvals to restrict uses of water but must run a period of public notice and allow for representations to be made before the restrictions come into force.
Companies can also manage water pressure in the supply system in drought-affected areas and work with business customers to help reduce their demand.
– When was the last drought?
The last time drought was declared was in 2018.
Other notable droughts took place in 1975 to 1976, 1989 to 1992, 1995 to 1996, 2004 to 2006 and 2010 to 2012.
A severe drought occurred from May 1975 to August 1976, when a dry winter in 1975-76 was followed by an intensely hot, dry summer.
An EA document on droughts said many restrictions on water use were introduced, while many trees were affected by moisture stress and the hot temperatures led to fires on moorland and heathland.
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