It’s easy to assume that being diabetic means giving up many of your favorite desserts, including chocolate and ice cream. Yet, this isn’t really the case at all. Diabetics can still enjoy plenty of treats, as long as they’re wise and pay attention to the products they choose. So, what about ice cream? What’s the best ice cream for diabetics?
As you can probably guess, we’re not just going to talk about one type of ice cream here. That wouldn’t help much, would it?
Everyone has different preferences for flavor, texture, and creaminess – so we need an array of products. Thankfully, there are plenty of decent ice creams you can try.
Some of these will be familiar, as they’re easily found at local grocery stores. Others are less familiar and may be more difficult to find, but they’re well worth trying. While you could turn to regular ice cream brands as well, these tend to be to be high in sugar and carbs, so you’ll need to be ultra-cautious with your portion size.
The Best Ice Creams For Diabetics (With Pictures!)
Let’s begin with Halo Top. This company has been making waves for creating healthier ice creams. Their products often use a combination of stevia, erythritol, and cane sugar for sweetness. This keeps the dessert sweet, while giving it a lower sugar content than most other ice creams.
There’s also extra protein, which makes the ice cream more satisfying and can decrease the blood sugar effect (there will still be some blood sugar effect though, as most of the products still use some cane sugar).
That’s not all. Many of Halo Top’s ice creams taste amazing. Some people find that they taste as good as the real deal, which is pretty good for low carb and low fat ice cream.
You will need to check the ingredients labels with these products, as Halo Top now has a huge range and the nutritional profiles vary, often dramatically. Look for those that keep the carb content low, ideally ones that don’t contain much saturated fat either.
You can also check out Halo Top’s keto range. While these contain a decent amount of fat, this isn’t as bad as you might expect and the carb content is very low indeed.
Edy’s Slow Churned
The slow churned ice creams from Edy’s are all useful, as they try to keep the carb content lower than other brands.
There are plenty of flavors, including butter pecan, caramel delight, classic vanilla, and coffee. These all have roughly half the fat and a third of the calories of regular ice cream.
Still, while the carb content is lower than conventional ice cream, it’s not ideal. For example, the slow churned caramel delight contains 27 net grams of carbs per 2/3 cup serving.
That’s a lot. You could cut the serving down to half a cup, but even then, this might be more carbs than you’re looking for.
Why include Edy’s in the list? For two reasons.
First, because Edy’s keeps most of the flavor and creaminess of regular ice cream. This is perfect for diabetics who want a product that actually tastes like the real deal.
Second, because the carb content is still lower than many conventional ice cream brands. It’s even lower if you look for one of Edy’s no sugar added products.
You’ll see a similar pattern with many of the other mainstream ice cream brands anyway.
Blue Bunny Ice Cream
Blue Bunny ice creams aren’t all great for diabetics, as some are loaded with sugar. However, there are some above average flavors.
Many lists still recommend Blue Bunny Hi Lite ice cream, particularly the chocolate and vanilla flavors. These were popular for their low sugar content and the fact that they tasted much like regular ice cream.
Blue Bunny doesn’t offer these ice creams now. Instead, they have their Sweet Freedom range, which contains no added sugars. There are plenty of flavors too, including double strawberry swirl, bunny tracks, banana split, and vanilla.
The vanilla flavor comes in at 17 net grams of carbs per serving and includes 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 110 calories. The carb content is a little higher than we’d like, but the overall balance is fantastic for ice cream that still tastes like ice cream.
The other flavors contain more carbs, so they mightn’t be such a good choice. However, you might still be able to enjoy them if you keep your serving size low.
Rebel Ice Cream Low Carb
Rebel Creamery takes a different approach entirely. Their products are designed to be keto friendly, so the carb content is much lower than brands like Blue Bunny or even many Halo Top flavors.
For example, Rebel’s chocolate chip contains just 4 net grams of carbs per serving, while even their chocolate peanut butter version doesn’t get past 8 net grams of carbs.
Like many keto ice creams, this product is high in calories and saturated fat. For example, the birthday cake version contains 200 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving (11 grams of which are saturated fat). This fat content is something to be cautious with, particularly if your heart disease risk is high.
So Delicious No Sugar Added CoconutMilk
Like Halo Top, So Delicious focuses on healthy alternatives to ice cream. Many of their products rely on alternative milks, like cashew milk, almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk.
This is a brand to be very careful with, as only some of their products are low in carbs. In fact, many of them are pretty unhealthy, like the cashew milk peanut butter brownie that comes in at 330 calories, 20 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 34 grams of carbs per serving. Yikes!
The coconut milk products tend to be better, especially if you focus on their no sugar added versions. Their butter pecan flavor is particularly good, offering 210 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 13 net grams of carbs per serving. Chocolate is decent as well, with 130 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 14 net grams of carbs.
Enlightened Keto Ice Cream
These Enlightened ice creams has a selection of keto friendly products, which keep the carb content very low. For example, their caramel chocolate double dough has just 3 net grams of carbs per serving, while their butter pecan has 2 net grams instead.
They even have stick-based ice cream bars that are similarly low in carbs. Many products have a surprising amount of protein as well, which further reduces any blood sugar impact.
The catch is the fat content. For example, the triple chocolate brownie dough version contains 20 grams of fat per serving, with 12 grams of saturated fat. This is actually still lower than some regular ice creams and would be fine on a keto diet.
Still, the fat might be too much for some people.
Breyers Extra Creamy Ice Cream
Breyers is another mainstream brand that has some diabetic friendly entries. This includes their extra creamy vanilla and extra creamy chocolate (interestingly, Breyers no longer calls their products ice cream, but that’s a story for another time).
The vanilla version comes in at 140 calories for a 2/3 cup serving, with 4.5 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of protein. Because of the carb content, this ice cream only just squeaks in as being diabetic friendly.
Alternatively, you can try their no sugar added products. The vanilla version of this flavor gets down to 17 grams of carbs and 110 calories for the same serving size.
Nick’s Ice Creams
Nick’s is an exciting brand that focuses on Swedish-style light ice cream. Many of the products are relatively low in carbs, like Cookies and Kräm, which comes in at 4 net grams of carbs per pint.
Even more impressively, a 2/3 cup serving contains just 100 calories and 6 grams of fat. You’re also getting 10 grams of fiber. This is pretty impressive for a dairy-based ice cream.
We’ve featured some of the best ice creams for diabetics, but they’re certainly not the only ones on the market. You might find some local companies with decent products or even some from an ice cream of the month club.
So, how do you know whether a given product will fit your needs or not? Well, there are some key areas to look at.
Sugar is one of the biggest issues with ice cream. Some companies add insane amounts of sugar, which is awful news for your blood sugar levels.
Also remember that no sugar added products aren’t sugar free. They often contain less sugar, but there’s still some sugar from the lactose in your milk.
The carb content is relevant too. You’re normally looking for no more than 20 net grams of carbs per serving.
Most experts also recommend that diabetics should focus on ice creams that are low in saturated fat. This is because being diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and high saturated fat intake might raise your risk even further.
For most desserts, it’s best to keep the saturated fat content below 2 grams per serving. You can go a little higher with ice cream (perhaps up to 3 grams) because dairy is a decent source of saturated fat.
It’s important to watch product labels as well because companies are often misleading with their marketing. While they shouldn’t be outright lying, the product could be different than the label implies.
For example, while lower fat and lower sugar ice creams might be lower than competing brands or other products from the company, they could still contain a decent amount of sugar.
Even if the company keeps the sugar and fat levels reasonable, there could be additives or other ingredients you don’t want. Companies also change their formulas over time, which can include increasing the amount of sugar, changing the sweetener, or using different additives.
So, always check, especially if the product sounds too good to be true.
Most recommendations suggest that diabetics focus on low sugar and low fat ice creams, like some of the Breyers and Blue Bunny products. However, these are still heavily processed and contain a decent amount of sugar.
Some people take a different approach and focus on keto ice creams instead. We’ve featured some such ice creams on this list.
These products mightn’t seem like a great choice, as they’re often high in fat (some are even high in saturated fat as well). However, the low sugar content often makes them ideal for diabetics. Keto ice cream certainly won’t spike blood sugar in the way that regular ice cream does.
Finally, it’s important to experiment and see what works for you. Some people will do best by focusing on the more conventional recommendations, including ice creams that are low in fat and sugar. Others will find keto ice creams much more powerful.
The best way to know is to watch your blood sugar levels with different products. See how your body responds and what fits best into your diet.