Reese Witherspoon sparked a hygiene debate online after eating snow, but it's nothing new. What is 'snow cream' and why is it all over TikTok?

Reese Witherspoon sparked a hygiene debate online after eating snow, but it's nothing new. What is 'snow cream' and why is it all over TikTok?
  • Reese Witherspoon sparked an internet debate after eating snow as a dessert.

  • Witherspoon, 47, responded to critical fans on TikTok.

  • Despite fans' shock, eating snow isn't a new phenomenon on social media.

Reese Witherspoon sparked an internet debate among her fans and critics after she filmed herself eating snow as a dessert on TikTok.

Witherspoon, 47, went viral on Friday when she shared a TikTok video showing herself making a "snow salt Chococinno." In the video, Witherspoon used two large mugs to scoop snow off her grill before drizzling them with salted caramel and chocolate sauce. She then added a splash of cold brew to give the snow dessert a "yummy coffee flavor."

The video amassed over 4.1 million views, but some comments were critical of Witherspoon's recipe.

"I thought eating snow was like dangerous to our health," one person wrote.

Other commenters raised similar concerns, prompting Witherspoon to share three follow-up videos shrugging off their comments.

"OK, so we're kind of in a category of 'You only live once,' and it snows maybe once a year here," Witherspoon said. "I don't know! Also, I want to say something: It was delicious. It was so good."

In another video, Witherspoon said she didn't grow up drinking "filtered water" and argued she was a product of her generation.

"OK, talking about the snow not being filtered, I didn't grow up drinking filtered water. We drank out of the tap water," Witherspoon said. "We actually put our mouths on the tap, and then sometimes, like in the summer, when it was hot, we drank out of the hose, like, we put our mouth on the hose, growing up."

She added: "Maybe that's why I'm like this. "So what you're saying to me is I have to filter the snow before I eat it? I just can't. Filtered snow. I don't know how to do that."

Some users were surprised by Witherspoon's recipe, but "snow cream" and similar desserts aren't new to TikTokers

Collecting snow and turning it into a dessert isn't unique to Witherspoon. Typing "snow cream" into the TikTok search bar will unearth videos of users making their own concoctions.

One video from January 2019 showed TikToker @theridelife using a large bowl to scoop snow from their balcony before topping it with what appeared to be milk, vanilla, and sugar. That video has 416,000 views.

And in December 2022, @sugar_boogerz shared footage of herself collecting snow and mixing it with condensed milk in a video with over 26.3 million views. Even popular TikTok creators like Alexis Nikole known as the "Black Forager" — shared a video of her making a snow cream recipe in January 2022 with 2.1 million views.

Some users in Witherspoon's TikTok comments defended her and admitted they've also used snow for a wintery treat.

"My mom makes snow ice cream every year when it snows. I thought everyone did this?" one person wrote.

Another reminisced about their childhood, writing, "So nobody grew up eating snow cream? Man y'all missing out."

But is eating snow safe?

As Witherspoon's video and subsequent responses spread across the internet, users still questioned whether eating snow is risky.

Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine physician Jennifer Johnson told AccuWeather that although snow is essentially water, people should be careful with consumption since it could be contaminated.

"Any snow has the risk of containing pollution, dirt and microbes. Snow that has been on the ground for a couple of days may have chemicals from snow removal, dirt, microbes from the dirt and animal debris," Johnson told the outlet, adding that fresh snow likely has less contamination than days-old snow.

Little boy plays in snow.
Young child playing in snow.Elena Lavrinovich/Getty Images

The outlet reported that most people have a good immune system and don't eat enough snow to feel adverse effects. However, some could experience an upset stomach or diarrhea. Those symptoms could worsen if you've consumed a large amount of snow or contaminated snow, per Accuweather.

"Someone with immune issues is more susceptible to the infections and may have fevers, chills, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained weight loss," Johnson said.

She added: "For most people, eating a small amount of fresh snow (a bite or two) or catching snowflakes on their tongue, is unlikely to cause serious problems. People who have significant health conditions and very young infants should be more cautious."

Read the original article on Business Insider