Things to consider about ice cream and diabetes
Ice cream is infamous for its smooth textures, creamy consistencies, and rich ingredients. In addition to sweet flavors, some ice creams contain a colossal amount of calories, carbohydrates, and saturated fats. These nutrients aren’t bad; it’s just necessary to stay mindful of their amounts in the ice cream you eat to maintain good health and diabetes control.
Ice cream can contain a lot of calories in a single scoop. If we get more calories than needed over time, managing a healthy weight can become challenging. In diabetes, weight management is vital for insulin to do its best work in regulating healthy blood sugar levels. Selecting lighter ice creams can help you enjoy that satisfying scoop without serving up too many calories.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, in ice cream come from lactose (a natural milk sugar) plus added sugars. Carbs raise your blood sugar levels, and when you have diabetes, your blood sugars may jump to unsafe ranges with excess carb intake. Some ice cream brands produce sugar-free, low sugar, and no sugar added varieties that may offer fewer carbs due to sugar alcohols or sugar substitutes. Even still, it’s essential to read the nutrition facts label to find out what’s in your scoop. Some low carb ice creams are made with large quantities of sugar alcohols, which can still raise the blood sugar levels. Knowing what the nutrition facts label says will help you enjoy your ice cream in moderation.
Saturated fats are solid fats found in animal products, including dairy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 encourage limiting saturated fats to lower heart disease risk. With diabetes, there’s a greater chance of developing heart problems, so selecting an ice cream lower in saturated fat is key. Frozen yogurt, slow-churned, and light ice creams can help reduce your saturated fat intake.
Tips for choosing a diabetes-friendly ice cream
Ice cream can still be a part of a healthy diabetes eating plan when eaten in moderation. Here are a few tips for keeping your blood sugars in check while enjoying your frozen dessert.
- Look for carb-conscious ice cream brands that offer 15-20 grams of carbohydrates per serving or less.
- Try slow-churned ice cream varieties since they offer fewer calories and saturated fat but give you the flavor and texture you crave.
- Stick to the serving size of a ½ cup of ice cream.
- Test out low-calorie ice cream brands that are rich in protein. Protein helps to slow the rise of your blood sugar levels.
- Consider skipping the waffle cone and ask for your ice cream in a small cup or bowl when eating out. Reduce added sugars by limiting candy or cookie ingredients, and enhance your ice cream by topping it with fresh fruit.
- Savor each spoonful of ice cream and eat slowly.
- Make your own diabetes-friendly banana chocolate ice cream with this recipe.
Ready for more healthy eating tips?
If you’re happy to find out that ice cream is a food you can enjoy with diabetes, you might be wondering what else you can eat when you have diabetes. 9amHealth is here to help you. Sign up for our program for the best nutrition tips and tricks, nutritious meal plans, and the latest research on diabetes management. You'll receive up-to-date information and support to help manage your diabetes. Click here to sign up!