Last Modified on Mar 11, 2015
The Connection Between Certain Brands of Ice Cream, Flu, and Sinus Infections
Here's our theory, which we are absolutely convinced is an accurate one: Within 24 hours of consuming a scoop of ice cream from brands that contain artificial flavors (e.g., Baskin Robbins, Wendy's, Dairy Queen, etc.), flu-like symptoms will manifest: fever, headache, congestion, general malaise. The supposed virus disappears within 24 hours and a raging sinus infection develops in its place. You won't ever have a runny nose, (which you would have with a true virus or allergy), you'll just have two intensely clogged & infected sinus passages with extreme sinus pressure.
We started asking friends who came down with sinus infections if they had eaten ice cream 2 days prior to the onset of the sinus infection. 4 out of 5 cases reported a yes. We took our theory to the web and started asking our readers in 2006. Sure enough, the same report came back time and time again: fake flu within 24 hours and a sinus infection within 48 hours.
If you take your kids to get ice cream on the weekend, this theory should be pretty easy to track since the side effects will take place Monday or Tuesday following.
What is in Ice Cream That is Causing the 'Flu' and Sinus Infections?
Earth Clinic's Theory: It's not the listed ingredients in ice cream (milk fat and nonfat milk, sugar, sweet whey, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, etc. etc. ) but the so called "natural" and artificial flavorings causing the bogus flu and sinus infections.
We ate lots and lots of ice cream as children back in the 1970s and 80s and never once experienced a sinus infection. The sinus infections started to occur in the late 1990s, never during a cold or flu, but always (as in 100%) after eating a cone at a store like Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen. We're convinced that if someone was to do a study on this subject, they would probably find a nationwide spike in sinus infections commencing when companies started to add chemically-complicated artificial flavors to ice cream.
6/29/2006: Penny from Fresno, CA was kind enough to send us the following excerpt. You can find even more information on this subject at: http://www.rense.com/general7/whyy.htm
"In his book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser looks at the typical ingredients in a Burger King strawberry milkshake: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenyl-glycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone, a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, run ether, y-undercalctone, vanillin and solvent.
It would appear that underneath the natural and artificial flavours, an abundance of compounds lay. There is nothing illegal going on here. This is all within the law. Likewise with food labels, they too can include all these ingredients and place them under the umbrella term of 'flavourings'. It's really rather frightening. The value of flavourings is of tremendous importance to the fast food industry, which require their foods be standardized, and flavourings can offer a standardized product. In order that artificial flavourings are made believable, the correct 'mouth feel' must be gained. This is achieved by the addition of starches, emulsfiers, stabilizers, sugars and fats (Marsili, 1993, Food Product Design). So next time you pop into your favourite fast food outlet for a milkshake, take a moment and think about what's really in this stuff."
Since we first wrote this article several years ago, several others have written about the link between sinus infections and ice cream. (See links below article.)
Here's a snippet from a May 6th, 2007 New York Times article by Jesse McKinley entitled: "Flavoring-Factory Illnesses Raise Inquiries."
"Over the last several years, California health officials have been tracking a handful of workers in flavoring factories who have been incapacitated with a rare, life-threatening lung condition 'bronchiolitis obliterans' for which there is no cure or treatment. Usually found only in people who are poisoned by chemical fires or chemical warfare or in lung transplant patients, bronchiolitis obliterans renders its victims unable to exert even a little energy without becoming winded or faint."
"The airways to the lung have been eaten up," said Barbara Materna, the chief of the occupational health branch in the California Department of Health Services. "They can't work anymore, and they can't walk a short distance without severe shortness of breath."
Seven flavoring-factory workers in California are known to have the disease or similarly serious lung damage, and 22 others have had lung tests come back with abnormal results..."
EC: No one on the web appears to be addressing this bogus flu/virus condition from artificial flavorings issue except for us! However, we feel it is very important that people (and the companies who add artificial flavors to their products) look into these side effects more seriously.
You may also be interested in our page on Sinus Headache Relief from Folk Cures.
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Thank you so much, I am in the throws of a megga sinus attack with no other reason for it than a new brand of icecream which states its the Smooth icecream with the worlds finest vanilla flavour! Sourced from Madagascan vanilla..........Now I am informed and will go back to making my own with homegrown strawberries and NO artificial flavours.. Its such a relief to learn its not the icecream as such but once again its the Ad-ins.....
Cider vinegar massage and steaming are finally providing me relief thanks to sites like yours who care enough to help.
I am so happy to have been directed to your site. So much information. The ice cream/sinusitis connection is especially interesting, since I have several friends/family members that suffer terribly with sinus trouble.
I don't have any cures but I wanted to share some information that a nurse (7th Day Adventist) told me, during a discussion about nutrition. One of her statements was so simple as to render it mind-boggling. She said:
Everyone forgets that God made MILK for baby cows!
And we wonder why, even in raw form, we can't tolerate it??
Be calm and be healthy...
[SIDE EFFECTS] I knew it!!! I should have looked this up years ago! Thank you. I get horribly sick every single time after eating my favorite ice cream, Hagendaz vanilla Swiss almond. I am sick today, sinus and all. Had homemade papaya shake with carnation evaporated milk last night. So was it the milk? Was it the brown sugar? Was it that it was too cold? Or all of the above? I would really appreciate your feedback. thanks again to everyone.
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[SIDE EFFECTS] 3 days ago I celebrated a birthday with a friend here in my home all my life I delt with sinusitis since I was 16. I picked up a DQ icecream cake for her to share with her family. I had decent sized piece. Next day had pressure on my ears and face seen that my face was swollen. I just assumed it was allgeries by the next day I was in so much pain my ears were closed up like being on an air plane running 102 fever and really bad virtago. Have a netti but the water not going through did natural healing search found this Page and went holey #*+". I have reflected back on past events and realized I had ice cream every time I got sick. This is just mind blowing.
Nikki P, Ontario Canada
Replied by Amy
Los Angeles California
[SIDE EFFECTS] I haven't had a history of sickness, and I believe I have a fairly good immune system. A few weeks ago, ice-cream was on sale, so I bought two packs. After finishing the first (chocolate), I opened up the last pack last Saturday, this was some three flavour (I never really care what I buy, like I said I've never really had any major problems). The next morning I had what seemed like a cold. I ignored it, had some cold medications and went off to work, from there it was downhill. I thought it might just be the weather, I bought neo-citran to end the pain in my ears (sore throat). It helped me sleep, but my lungs were full of mucus the next morning. Its been a few days now (10 days). I haven't fully recovered, it is getting better. But atleast now I know, whats wrong, its a great relief, having read this post. I just wanted to post my experience here so that people realize this is not a fluke, it does and is happening.
[SIDE EFFECTS] Thank you for your article on ice cream and sinus infections, Saturday I went to my local market they had Klondike bars buy one get one free, I been waking up everyday since with a horrible headache and clogged nasal passages, like it says in the article I do not have a runny nose. I just wanted to share my experience so anyone reading this knows it is true, from now on I will be staying away from ice cream.
[SIDE EFFECTS] I just found your page while looking for home cures for sinus infection (which I have right now) and surprise! I did have ice cream just before I came down with this. I wanted to inform you that I do not eat any ice creams that contain any artificial additives. Most of what I buy I get from Wholefoods. I just thought that you might want to add this to your statistics for narrowing down the culprit.
Replied by Ejules
[SIDE EFFECTS] I got a 'regular' cold just before Christmas 2011. I did my sinus flush and all, and I was back in business by Monday evening. Of course there are the lingering affects, but I can deal with the symptoms individually. As long as I can sleep, I can recover. Then comes Jan 4. After a long day, I head home, and stop in at Wendy's to get my favorite chocolate Frosty for the trip home. It was delicious as always. Thursday I started feeling the down hill crash and by 5pm, I was toast. I'm just today beginning to feel better (Monday, Jan 9). Head still has tons of gunk. I'm still sinus flushing. Started researching for sinusplasty or something to get rid of this when I came across this article. I think I will be avoiding Wendys et al for a while.
One thing I do plan on trying: Homemade Ice Cream. I want to see if I have a similar reaction. I don't think I will, and I have an excuse for ice cream!
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Middle Tn, Tn
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Rapid City, Sd
[SIDE EFFECTS] Your amazing. I have been looking this up for years! I am so glad I am not the only one who gets this. About 95% of the time after I eat ice cream I come down with flu-like symptoms, first it starts off as a light sore throat, then a feverish headache, then nausea, upset stomach etc etc. I never got a runny nose. I was convinced that the doctors that removed my tonsils nearly 14 years ago messed up in some way that spoiled my fun of eating ice cream whenever I feel like it, but I have never heard of anyone having that problem after getting their tonsils out. Should definitely look into this more!!!!! I am beyond interested in what's causing this.
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Kingston, New York, Usa
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Seattle, Wa - Usa
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[SIDE EFFECTS] Im very happy to find this article. I thought I was imagining things. 3 days ago on sunday I had a vanilla shake at in n out burgers in LA and immediately, while I was drinking it even, I started to have flu symptoms. Now its almost full blown: runny nose, cough, etc. I very rarely eat fast food, once a month usually. And I only eat in n out. But this time I went 2x in the last two weeks. This had never happened before, so I thought I was hallucinating or something. Thats when I turned to the internet for answers. I'm a pretty healthy person, been living in japan for the last decade, but came to america a year ago on a promotion tour for my book black passenger yellow cabs. Living in japan, one cant help but eat healthily, so my body is just not accustomed to artificial flavoring. thanks to you guys, the mystery is solved.
[SIDE EFFECTS] I am rarely one to come down with a cold. And once a cold gets me I can't remember too many times it lasting for more than one are two days. My girlfriend and I are really conscious about the food we buy and avoid fake food as much as possible. We like organic and real ingredients. But I admit I can slip from time to time. For instance working with my friend before Christmas. The 22nd and 23rd of December I ate at McDonald's with him. Then Christmas eve I did it... Ate some Eddy's Ice cream. What ensued were symptoms so much like described in your article. Its scary. 'Cept the order may not be exact. Christmas day I got the stuffy nose and feeling awful after taking a afternoon nap. That night runny nose and I started taking notice - I may have a cold. I went to sleep that night and mucus dripping into my throat gave me a painfully sore throat. We practice Netty pot nasal washes - my girlfriend more than I. So I cleansed my nose. And went back to sleep to wake with symptoms worsening. By the second night, Dec 26, I am flu like. With constant blowing of much mucus, even though I am cleaning my nose with a Netty pot.
Replied by Cameron
[SIDE EFFECTS] I read some report done on the link between artificial flavors in Dairy Queen and Baskin Robins icecream and sinus infections. It must have been fate that I saw it because right now I am battling a severe sinus infection and I have been eating Dairy Queen blizzards like every day for the past two months. 3 weeks ago I had "flu like symptoms" like the article I read stated. I ran a fever of 101. 8-102. 0 and had a sore throat. Now, for the past two weeks, along with the sore throat, I have had this severe sinus infection. I have NEVER had one this bad before! I really wish someone would contact me via facebook reguarding this matter. On facebook do a search for Betsy Moody-Ervin. Thank you
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[SIDE EFFECTS] For the last couple of years, I have taken ACV religiously, after reading here on EC how well it worked at preventing and even curing sinus infections. I had been sinus infection free after taking ACV regularly. I was thinking my sinus problems were over ... then this week, to my surprise, I got a horrible, painful sinus infection. Then I recalled eating some ice cream a few days earlier ... now, I've eaten ice cream occasionally off and on over the last couple of years too, but have only had the major brands that don't contain corn syrup (usually the sucralose sweetened variety) with no major effects. This time however, I mistakenly had one with corn syrup. It burned my throat, but I didn't think much of it ... only when I was finishing off the box did I read the ingredients and saw corn syrup was listed. I took extra ACV, but to no avail ... after 4 horrid near sleepless nights, painful, bleeding sinuses, etc, (felt like I was dinner, and my body didn't care ... immune system on strike?) and loath to seek antibiotics, I went looking for information. I knew about ACV, but what else was I missing? After reading Ted's remedies, I thought that perhaps my pH had dropped, since I had not been eating as well as of late due to just moving (the day I started eating the ice cream) ... so, I took about 1 tsp of baking soda sweetened with 2 tsp xylitol in a cup of water. WOW! With in 1/2 hour, my sinus pain was going away! Then my mucus color lightened ... after getting a few more hours of much needed sleep, I am feeling almost normal. I still cough and have some stuffiness, pressure, and drainage, but the pain and bleeding are gone. THANK YOU EC and TED! (I like the fizzy ACV and baking soda: 1/2 C water, 1 tbsp ACV 1/4 tsp baking soda 4 drops of liquid stevia extract.)
Now, I read about the artificial flavors added to some ice creams, and I don't eat any that have these listed ... there may have been something not listed in the one I ate. However, as mentioned on EC about the history of this sinus problem and ice cream, it started in the late 1990s or so. This is when I stopped eating ANY corn, as it started to make me ill. At the time, I chalked it up to food sensitivities ... well, guess what? Something changed in corn during the 1990s. GMO. Today, about 60% of all corn is genetically modified with Bt protein, a naturally occurring pesticide. I don't know how much is in the seed, or how much makes it into the resulting corn syrup, but it could be that there is enough that some people are affected. So, the causative ingredient may very well be listed ... we just don't see if for what it is. (Or, I'm just sensitive to corn.)
Bottom line, keep the body's pH up and stay away from things we find cause harm. Then the body can do its job and be well.
EC: Great theory, thanks Seth!
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Philadelphia, Pa, Us
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New York, Ny
[SIDE EFFECTS] sinus infection/ice cream connection
I found this site looking for natural sinus infection cures. Something definitely rings true with the ice cream connection. My family went to Baskin-Robbins for their .31 cent scoop night. We never go there, for lots of reasons but, decided it would be a rare treat. This was April 28th. I of course didn't make the connection when I got really sick after. Sinus infection and bronchitis (likely caused by sinusitis)that was treated with antibiotics. The bronchitis seems to have gone, but sinuses not even touched by the drugs. I just tried the ACV treatment and an hour later...WOW! I want to cry. It's been bad these past few years...if this works as good as it seems to, I feel hope! I am breathing through my nose. It's almost shocking how much oxygen I feel like I'm finally getting. It's interesting that the rest of the family didn't get sick like me, but they were super tired for days after. Interesting stuff!
[SIDE EFFECTS] This is feedback for the page regarding Ice Cream and flu.
I found this website when looking for a natural cure for sinus infections. I'm going to try to ACV and will post results.
However, we noticed that IMMEDIATELY after I had eaten a heavily flavoured ice cream from the store, I became suddenly ragingly ill. I developed an overnight sinus infection and seem to have the flu as well. I have eaten this brand of ice cream before, as they advertise 1/2 the fat and 1/2 the sugar in this type and it seemed safe in the past to have a little every once in a while. I can be lactose intolerant to a small degree, so ice cream is a rare treat. This time, it was on a giveaway type of sale that seemed odd to us, they were giving away 2 large containers if you bought one. I tried a mint chocolate chip where they make the ice cream green, I've never eaten that kind before, I bought it for someone else to enjoy and just sampled it for fun. I felt bad within 2 hours of eating it. I already have a serious illness to deal with, and now I am so sick I can hardly move, I'm wheezing, fever, sinuses are so infected, and my ears are totally blocked. I already had pain in my skull previously so not sure if that is a symptom also. Just wanted to add to this page, I'm a little concerned that children are eating this stuff and getting so sick, that's very alarming, where's Michael Moore on this one :).
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