Last updated on September 30th, 2022
In moderate amounts, ice cream is not prohibited for type 2 diabetes patients. Diabetics need to consider the amount of ice cream that would have an impact on glucose levels. As blood sugar management is very important for maintaining normal glucose levels.
While counting small ice cream servings as part of a healthy, balanced diet is not unsafe, choices regarding the brands and types demand watchful attention. Read this article to know about how to choose ice cream for diabetics. Also, a few tips on how to reduce their effect on glucose levels.
Also Read: How to Lower Blood Sugar Level?
What is Ice Cream?
A majority of people know what is ice cream. It’s a cold, smooth food product that people scoop out of a container into a cone or a bowl and enjoy its delicacy. Yet, there exist some specific standards that define ice cream. The FDA notes that a product should meet these two standards to be referred to as “ice cream:”
- It should comprise a minimum of 10% dairy milkfat.
- It should have just 100% overrun and weight, not below 4.5 pounds per gallon.
Overrun is the quantity of air that is beaten into the base of the ice cream during freezing. A product having a low overrun is heavier and denser as compared to a product having a high overrun. Items that fail to meet these two criteria are often referred to as “frozen dairy desserts” instead of “ice cream.” There are marketing terms, as well, that apply to frozen treats, including light ice cream, reduced-fat ice cream, non-fat ice cream, and low-fat ice cream. Perceptibly, the fat content is low in such items than in “regular” ice cream.
Ice Cream Nutritional Facts
Here is a glance at the nutrition breakdown of various “types” of ice cream:
½ cup of regular vanilla ice cream comprises the following nutrients:
- Carbs: 16 g
- Fat: 7 g
- Sugar: 14 g
- Saturated fat: 4.5 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Fiber: 0.5 g
- Sodium: 53 mg
- Calories: 136
½ cup of light, no-sugar vanilla ice cream comprises:
- Carbs: 15 g
- Fat: 5 g
- Sugar: 4 g
- Saturated fat: 3 g
- Fiber: 0.5 g
- Sodium: 65 mg
- Calories: 105
Can diabetics have sugar free ice cream? Indeed, this light version contains fewer calories and fat in comparison to regular and premium ice cream. In effect, carbohydrate content is similar to regular and premium versions contains, although the quantity of sugar is lesser. The reason: ice cream is prepared using milk, which naturally comprises glucose in the form of lactose. No extra sugar ice cream comprises non and/or low-calorie sweeteners including:
- sugar alcohols (sorbitol, erythritol)
- non-nutritive sweeteners (acesulfame K, aspartame, stevia extract).
Just like any other “no extra sugar” product, people must not be fooled into believing that it is carb-free. It is better to read the “Nutrition label”.
There’s no contradiction that ice cream ranks topmost on the charts while the topic of nutrition comes. As delightful as the ice cream is, it’s likely a fat, high-calorie, and carb food. And, for this reason, it’s a treat.
Ice Creams For Diabetics
Keto ice cream
Keto-friendly ice cream is a more recent inclusion in the ice cream or frozen desserts zone. Few common brands include Arctic Zero, Halo Top, Rebel, and Enlightened. These ice creams have fewer calories and fewer carbs in comparison to regular ice cream. Also, they claim to fit within the frame of a keto diet.
2/3 rd of a cup of Halo Top, keto series comprises:
- Carbs: 16 g
- Sugar alcohol: 11 g
- Fat: 9 g
- Saturated fat: 6 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 150 mg
- Calories: 130
More facts on keto ice creams
It is important to note that the total carb grams in this ice cream are comparable to other types of ice cream. Yet, keto ice creams consider the thought of “net carbs”. These are carbohydrates that get broken down and absorbed by the body.
Moreover, keto ice creams are expected to comprise a majority of unfamiliar components. For instance, the component list from Enlightened Chocolate Ice Cream involves:
- milk protein concentrate,
- tapioca syrup,
- guar gum,
- non-GMO soluble corn fiber,
- carob gum,
- vegetable glycerin,
- mono and diglycerides and,
- monk fruit extract.
Keto ice creams may be a good alternative for anyone. However, keeping a check on the portion size is vital. Overlook the marketing claim that the entire pint can be safe for consumption. Net carbs and calories also count. Also, remember that food items consisting of sugar alcohols may lead to digestive problems like bloating, acidity, or diarrhea.
Gelato ice creams
Yet, Gelato is another “ice cream” alternative, even if it’s not ice cream. For example, gelato is prepared using more milk and less cream in comparison to ice cream. Similarly, ice cream generally comprises egg yolks, while gelato usually comprises nothing. Also, while ice cream should contain a minimum of 10% fat, gelato contains only 5% to 7% fat as well as 25% to 30% air.
Storage of gelato is done at a somewhat higher temperature in comparison to ice cream. This offers it a softer, smoother consistency as compared to any ice cream. Nutrition-wise, how can gelato be compared with any other ice cream?
Nutrition Facts of Gelato
½ cup of gelato consists of nutrients:
- Carbs: 23 g
- Sugar: 22 g
- Fat: 1.3 g
- Saturated fat: 1 g
- Fiber: Zero
- Sodium: 22 mg
- Calories: 104
Calorie- and fat-wise, gelato contains low amounts as compared to ice cream. However, it contains higher total carbohydrates. If people can pay for the higher carb content, then this might be a good alternative for them. People have to regulate their mealtime insulin, reduce their carbs and do exercise after consuming gelato.
Can Diabetics Eat Ice Cream?
Similar to a sweet dessert, ice cream generally contains high carb content deriving from processed and refined sugars. The advisable daily carb consumption differs depending upon many factors like:
- The success of a person’s blood sugar control
- physical activity level.
If an individual manages blood glucose poorly, the healthcare provider may recommend a low-carb consumption. Discuss with a diabetes specialist regarding the ideal carb consumption for a specific appearance of diabetes.
Replacing a sandwich with a salad or lettuce wrap might help attain this. Also, a few ice cream flavours and brands consist of high saturated fat content. As, diabetics are at a high risk of cardiac diseases, restricting other foods comprising saturated fat while they are having ice cream is a way to avoid surpassing the advisable intake. Diabetic patients who plan to add ice cream as a daily treat must speak to a dietitian regarding ways of adding it into a dietary plan along with managing their glucose levels.
Is ice cream bad for diabetics? Diabetic patients who follow a carb-limited diet should maintain a systematic record of carb consumption. People who plan to consume a serving of ice cream must ensure that they have one less carb serving except this.
Know About Serving Size
Diabetic patients require being cautious about the serving size while consuming ice cream. Many ice creams contain loads of extra sugar. This makes it food to restrict or avoid in high sugar patients.
One of the primary factors to remember while opting for ice cream is the total number of carbs indicated on the nutrition label. This number directly has an impact on glucose levels. Hence, individuals who are managing their sugar levels must restrict their serving size. Also, it is vital to know how ice cream fits into one’s meal plan.
Below are some of the factors for diabetics to consider:
- An ice cream serving consisting of 15 grams of carbs equals one serving of carbs. Any carbs in ice cream are equal to the total carb goal for a day. And, this would be different for every individual.
- A suitable portion of ice cream for diabetics is quite small, generally ½ a cup. However, many individuals serve much more than this. Diabetic patients should strictly adhere to the correct portion size. Hence, they may understand the exact number of carbs they are consuming.
- The fat and protein content of ice cream helps in delaying glucose absorption. Opting for an ice cream containing high protein and fat is preferred over a lower-fat alternative. It is also important to be aware of the daily saturated fat consumption. Full fat ice cream contains greater quantities of saturated fat.
Things to Watch for While Choosing Ice Creams
When the topic of selecting an ice cream comes, the number of options may be irresistible. An extensive variety of flavors and brands also come into the market. It is a must to consider the following factors while buying ice cream.
The best ice cream for any diabetic person should contain the lowest sugar content per serving. Also, it must not depend upon artificial sweeteners. It is good to look at the total carbs on the nutrition facts label or constituent list. This gives an idea about the quantity of sugar in specific ice cream. For any diabetic, the best option is an ice cream containing less than 20 grams of total carbs in ½ cup serving.
Fat and Protein Level
The quantity of protein and fat present in an ice cream produces a direct impact on sugar absorption. High protein and fat usually promote slower-than-average absorption.
Nearly every brand of ice cream contains a lot of marketing data on the container. Diabetics might find product labels packing low sugar or with ½ calorie content of normal ice cream. Even if the claims might be true, the genuine sugar content might be still greater than the advisable quantity per serving.
Knowing about the carb serving sizes and their impact on blood glucose during the day is important to make ice cream a treat for diabetic patients. It is important to discuss with dietitians to develop a diet plan. Diabetics must discuss the possible problems accompanying the inclusion of ice cream in their diets. In such cases, with proper research and dietary changes, ice cream is safe for diabetics.
Use Breathe Well-being app to speak to our specialised diabetes educators or dieticians. They would guide you properly regarding any food item good for diabetes or not. Breathe Well-being is a powerful diabetes reversal platform. It is a natural diabetes reversal plan using diet changes, fitness programs and many more. Quickly take a look at our reversal program and let’s reverse diabetes together.
What is the GI value of ice cream?
The Glycemic index value of ice cream is nearly 37.
How can someone lower the sugar content in ice cream?
Sugar alcohols like erythritol and lactitol are added to produce low-calorie ice cream. People use erythritol more commonly for lowering sugar in ice cream. As, it offers texture and volume to ice cream, and is a portion of sucrose calories.
Is it fine to have ice cream on a regular basis?
Dieticians recommend consuming any foods comprising extra sugar and saturated fat, such as ice cream moderately. When it is consumed in excess, it may shift nutritious options of a meal plan and enhance the risk of chronic diseases. And, these ailments may include cardiac disorder, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes with time.
Are there any damaging effects of having ice cream?
While having ice cream regularly has been found to cause weight gain. And, this may cause chronic heart disease risk. Also, it may negatively affect one’s gut microbiome.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.