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How much is Inside a Lick of Ice Cream

When you are eating ice cream, you use a special eating method. It's not a spoon, it's not a fork, it's not chopsticks. It's something more direct...surely the most direct: licks.

Licking, while enjoyable, is not well-researched. On Friday night, my kids and I sought to change this, by calculating the size of a lick.

To find this answer, we bought soft-serve ice cream cones and licked them. By carefully noting the weight of the cones before and after the lick, we were able to quickly determine the amount of ice cream consumed in a single lick.

We bought three soft-serve cones. The cone portions at McDonalds aren't precise. We ended up with a range of cone servings: small, medium and large. I was happy with the small cone, but braced for a fight among my kids as they voiced their preference for the largest cone.

A superior understanding of mass saved me from this conflict as my daughter took note of the weights. There was a 106, a 156 and a 149 gram cone. What appeared to be the medium sized cone was actually holding the most ice cream! My daughter quickly adjusted her favorite-o-meter to be focused on the heaviest cone while my son was still hypnotized with the tall one. Conflict averted.

The first licks stacked up like this: My first lick was more of a "kiss-lick", where my lips took the task of corraling the ice cream as my tongue lapped it up. The scale showed the lick had removed 5.3 grams of ice cream.

A lick reduced the mass of my daugher's cone by 1.1 grams.

My son's lick was super small, removing just 0.4 grams of ice cream.

Basic subtraction showed my next lick as 2.6 grams, where the kids licked 1.9 and 2.9 grams.

A final round revealed licks of 4.5, 2.7 and 1.4 grams.


From this data, I'll conclude that a soft-serve ice cream lick, administered by an adult contains from 2.6 to 4.5 grams, up to a maximum of 5.3 grams. Childrens' licks contain from 0.4 grams to 2.9 grams.

An ice cream cone has about 140 grams of ice cream (the cone adds 11 grams), which translates to 40 adult licks or 82 kid licks.


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