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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Is Ice Cream Good for Diabetes? Get the Inside Scoop

Is Ice Cream Good for Diabetes? Get the Inside Scoop

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
4 min read 1289 Views 0 Comments
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Sometimes, it might feel tempting to grab that tub of ice cream. People with diabetes may have to think twice about reaching for this popular dessert, but is it actually safe? We explain whether ice cream is good for diabetes and ways you can eat it moderately.

Is ice cream good for diabetes

Do you feel the urge to eat ice cream but don’t know if you should?

This can be a common problem for those who have high blood sugar levels. Certain desserts have a risky nutrition facts label, one being regular ice cream. Although this sounds intimidating, ice cream doesn’t always hold a bad reputation. 

People with diabetes are advised to be wary about what they eat. Products like chocolate ice cream can seem dangerous for your blood sugars, but that’s not always the case. 

Are you curious to find out why? Then keep on reading our article.

Is Ice Cream Good for Diabetes?

Ice cream is only good for those with diabetes when eaten in moderation. Certain ice creams contain saturated fat, lots of added sugar, and other high-calorie ingredients. Eating this type of dessert excessively could cause hyperglycemia symptoms in those with diabetes.

Most ice cream is a high-carb food, which isn’t always the best for lowering blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates only encourage the production of glucose in your body. However, eating very small amounts of ice cream won’t cause a dramatic or threatening change.

The only thing to be wary of is the sugar and fat content. Too much sugar and unhealthy fats increase plaque build-up in your arteries, making blood flow harder. In the long term, you’ll be at more risk of blood pressure spikes, strokes, and even death when only eating sugary foods.

Is sherbet good for diabetes? 

Sherbet is said to be a “healthier” alternative to ice cream, but you still have to eat it in moderation. It is mostly made using fruit juice and sweeteners. As you can imagine, sherbet won’t benefit your health or blood sugar levels when consumed in large amounts.

Some people enjoy sherbet due to its fresh and fruity flavors. Frozen desserts made with fruit extract might sound great, but they aren’t better or worse than ice cream. In fact, they contain almost the same number of carbs and sugars when it comes to managing diabetes.

Always check the label of sherbet to get the nutrition breakdown. Regular and premium versions tend to use different ingredients. For example, cheaper brands use vegetable glycerin, which might cause such symptoms as allergic reactions, headaches, and serious constipation

How Does Ice Cream Affect Blood Sugar?

Eating ice cream can cause a moderate rise in your blood sugar levels. The high-carb content is guilty when it comes to managing diabetes symptoms. Your digestive system breaks these carbs down into sugar, which then transfers into the bloodstream.

Ice cream, whether that’s enlightened chocolate ice cream or a regular flavor, can trigger diabetes symptoms. Even the best ice cream in today’s food industry will affect your insulin negatively. This doesn’t mean you should avoid it completely when following a healthy diet.

The only way for your blood sugar to rise dramatically is by eating too much ice cream every day. Monitoring how many carbs you eat can prevent this from happening. After all, carbs become sugar in your body, so increasing that will only boost insulin resistance.

Ice Cream Nutritional Value per 100g

Certain branded ice creams will have a unique nutritional label. For example, light ice cream could have fewer sugars compared to regular ice cream. Just make sure to check what you’re buying beforehand, as this prevents you from making diabetes management worse.

Below, you’ll find the nutritional value of ice cream per 100 grams:

Ice Cream
Is ice cream keto
Not Keto Friendly
Key nutritional facts (per 100g):
Net carbs
Total carbs
Glycemic Index

Ice Cream Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of ice cream is 57, making it a high-glycemic food. Anything above 55 can increase your blood sugar levels notably after consumption. If you want to stay healthy long-term, only eat ice cream in moderation or find other low-carb frozen treats.

Rating food according to the glycemic index scale shows how much it’ll trigger your blood sugars. So, foods below 55 usually keep you healthy when following a diabetes-friendly diet. They may contain fewer total carb grams or saturated fats that make it harder for digestion. 

Ice cream and frozen yogurt can be safe in moderate amounts. Many brands are making ice cream sugar-free or reduced fat, so it’s worth opting for those. To ensure you’re protecting your long-term health, check the food label of each dairy product before buying.

How Many Scoops of Ice Cream Can a Person With Diabetes Eat?

The recommended amount of ice cream for people with diabetes is half a cup. This equates to 75 grams, which is not a big serving size. Of course, eating that much ice cream might not seem like a lot, but it’s the safest amount for keeping your blood sugar levels steady.

One scoop is the maximum limit for eating ice cream. You shouldn’t have an ice cream base or candy to go with the dessert. A single scoop or half a cup doesn’t sound like enough when satisfying your sugar cravings, but it’s the only way to prevent high blood sugar.

What Ice Cream Can People With Diabetes Eat?

Aim to eat ice cream low in fats, sugar alcohols, and added sugars. Some brands purposely make low-fat ice cream to suit unique diets. Even though these products might seem healthier, it’s still important to eat ice cream in moderate amounts. 

Many low-calorie ice creams contain sweeteners like monk fruit extract or stevia extract. These are healthy alternatives to regular sugar in most desserts. A study found that consuming stevia lowers blood pressure, reduces triglycerides, and regulates blood sugars.

Just be aware that this type of ice cream can still share similar health risks to regular versions. This is something to keep in mind when trying new alternatives. It’s worth getting into the habit of checking food labels and ensuring they are perfectly safe to eat in moderation.

A Word From Our MD

Ice cream can look so tempting and delicious.

For those who have diabetes, seeing this dessert in your local grocery store can be challenging. However, the key to protecting your health and cravings is to buy the ice cream but set boundaries when it comes to moderate consumption.

Of course, ice cream might not always be healthy. Eating too much sugar increases the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Protecting your heart is the only way to alleviate diabetes symptoms, so keep that in mind when reaching for this delicious treat.

Consult with your doctor if you’re unsure about what to eat. Registered dietitians also give recommendations on the best and worst food for managing diabetes.


So, should you eat ice cream when managing diabetes?

To prevent hyperglycemia symptoms, only consume ice cream moderately. Some of the ingredients, like saturated fat and added sugar, won’t benefit your long-term health. Instead, opt for reduced-fat ice cream that doesn’t contain too many carbs or preservatives.

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
4 min read 1289 Views 0 Comments

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