Can you eat ice cream after eating fish?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat ice cream after eating fish?” and discuss the facts related to the ingestion of ice cream following fish.

Can you eat ice cream after eating fish?

Yes, there is no harmful effect of eating ice cream after eating fish. However, because both foods are high in proteins, the ingestion of one after the other can cause an overdemand of proteolytic enzymes and result in a prolonged digestion process (1).

Why should you avoid ice cream after eating fish?

The reason you should avoid eating ice cream or other foods containing high amounts of protein after eating fish is that fish is also a food with a high amount of protein in its composition.  

The effective digestion process depends, among many factors, on the enzymes that are available for the digestive process. Once the food is ingested, these enzymes are released and interact with their protein targets, releasing peptides and amino acids, which are products of the cleavage of proteins. 

When fish is ingested, there is a demand for proteolytic enzymes in the body to realize the enzymatic digestion of the proteins provided by the fish ingested. As a consequence, less of these proteolytic enzymes are available for the digestion of the milk proteins in the ice cream.

This may result in a prolonged digestive process, incomplete digestion and incomplete absorption of the proteins (1).

What are possible risks of eating ice cream after eating fish?

One possible long term risk related to the consumption of high protein diets is the increased demand for digestive enzymes which leads to overdemand and possible damage of pancreatic acinar cells (2). 

Pancreatic acinar cells are cells in the pancreas, one of the most important organs in the digestive system related to the production of digestive juices and enzymes. The acinar cells produce, store and regulate the secretion of large amounts of enzymes necessary for the proper digestion and absorption of food.

A high demand on digestive enzymes due to a high protein diet, these cells can suffer stress and be damaged. Chronic damage to the pancreas results in chronic pancreatitis.

How can you eat ice cream after eating fish?

You can eat ice cream after eating fish when you eat small portions of both. 

Because proteolytic enzymes, such as pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin are used for the digestion of both fish and ice cream and the concentration of these enzymes is limited (which amount released for the digestion process depends on the individual), if you want to eat both fish and ice cream, you should eat a small portion of both to prevent over demanding your protein digestive capacity (1).

According to studies, the ideal protein intake for an adult male is 25–30 g of protein per meal (3). A portion of 170 g of cooked carp fish (a single filet) contains about 39 g of fish. This means, in the best way, you should eat less of a whole filet to have a serving of half cup (66 g) of vanilla ice cream, which contains 2.3 g of proteins.

However, if you opt for a non-dairy ice cream or a fruit ice-cream, you should check the nutrients and the protein amount of the ice cream in a serving.

What are the benefits of eating ice cream after eating fish?

The benefits of eating ice cream after eating fish are the benefits and nutrients provided by ice cream, a dairy product rich in proteins, vitamins and Calcium (4).

Dairy products are rich in Calcium and Phosphorus and are significant sources for many nutritional elements, primarily for Magnesium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, D, E, and K.

Ice cream, as other dairy products, contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a n-6 omega fatty acid related to several health benefits. Several research studies reported the beneficial effects of these lipids against cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes in humans (5).

It has also been reported that the consumption of CLA leads to loss of fat and total body weight, and may help reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol.

In addition, ice cream proteins are a source of peptides that have biological functions in the body, such as antihypertensive and antioxidant actions. They also contribute to the immune system.

Other FAQs about Ice cream that you may be interested in.

Can you eat ice cream on a diet?

Can you eat cookie dough ice cream when pregnant?

Can you eat ice cream after tooth extraction?


In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat ice cream after eating fish?” and discussed the facts related to the ingestion of ice cream following fish.


  1. Gan, Junai, et al. Protein digestion of baby foods: study approaches and implications for infant health. Mol nutr food res, 2018, 62, 1700231.  
  2. Logsdon, Craig D., and Baoan Ji. The role of protein synthesis and digestive enzymes in acinar cell injury. Nature rev Gastroenterol hepatol, 2013, 10, 362-370.  
  3. Wu, Guoyao. Dietary protein intake and human health. Food funct, 2016, 7, 1251-1265.
  4. Arslaner, Ayla, and Mehmet Ali Salik. Functional ice cream technology. Akademik Gıda, 2020, 18, 180-189.
  5. Benjamin, Sailas, and Friedrich Spener. Conjugated linoleic acids as functional food: an insight into their health benefits. Nutr Metab, 2009, 6, 1-13.

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