According to Malika Abdullaeva, senior assistant at the Department of Applied Biotechnology, her friend and fitness coach Victoria Sokolovskaya inspired her to create this alternative to protein cocktails. One of the steps of their training program included the process of getting shredded when they needed to go on a special diet: to reduce amount of calories and animal fats. It means that they didn’t have to eat fast food, farinaceous products, sweets and even fruits. As she didn’t want to limit herself with grains and boiled chicken, Malika decided to change the composition of one of her favourite foods: ice-cream. She decided to exclude fats, sugar and its substitutes like fructose, sorbitol and xylitol.

Under the supervision of Lyudmila Nadtochiy, associate professor of the Department of Applied Biotechnology, Malika started to develop a new original recipe of ice-cream, so as to make it as tasty as the usual one but at the same time healthy and low-calorie. She used protein as the main component, reduced carbohydrates and lipids content. She used the natural sweetener erythritol instead of sugar, as its energy density is 0−0.2 kcal in comparison with sugar’s equal to 384 kcal per 100 kcal of the ingredient.

The high protein ice-cream

"First of all we used milk protein concentrate as a base. However, it is very viscous — it doesn’t allow us to reach a high rate of protein. That is why we chose whey protein Isolate. Milk is what makes a product fat. Also we don’t use artificial food dyes and flavouring agents — all components are natural," says the researcher.

To create a proper texture, one mixes a liquid base and dry ingredients including stabilizers and emulsifiers and then stirs it at 50−55C degrees. The next step is to filter and pasteurize the mixture up to 85C degrees and constantly stir. Then one uses a viscolizer to make it homogenous. Then it is necessary to leave it at 5C degrees for 2−12 hours depending on the type of stabilizer. Then the mixture undergoes a process of freezing, which makes it partially frozen and enriched with air.

It results in a soft ice-cream. To make its structure more firm and prolong its expiry date one tempers it.

The tasting session

"We tried to save the structure and taste of a common ice-cream. Having tried different components and techniques we have managed to obtain a better flavour and required energy density. 100 grams of our ice-cream contains about 1.75 grams of proteins, 1.9 grams of fats and 4.7 g of carbs — this gives only 105.9 calories," notes Malika Abdullaeva.

According to Lyudmila Zabodalova, Deputy Head of the Department of Applied Biotechnology, ITMO’s specialists have already created many "innovative" foods. Active students, who are interested in a healthy lifestyle, participate in research in this field from Bachelor’s level and take part in exhibitions and contests.

"Experts from our department usually use milk products and add different components like fruits, vegetables and cereals so as to enrich it with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. For instance, a fermented milk product with carrot juice enriched with alant starch, nutritious cocktail FOYT and others," comments Liudmila Zabodalova.

These days Malika and her colleagues under the supervision of ITMO’s Project Management and Innovation Department work on Pro&Ice's promotion. When the project became the best product according to "ITMO 3.0 Reload" Project, its authors presented the ice-cream at the "Startup Exchange" organized by Delovoi Peterburg magazine, made a video story in alliance with LIFE78 TV channel and took part in the Polar Bear Pitching.