Is Ice Cream Bad For Diabetics?

Most people enjoy ice cream because, well, it’s delicious! Have you ever wondered, though, if ice cream is bad for diabetics? Ice cream, coupled with its various toppings like candies and cookies, can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, so, yes, it can be bad for diabetics. 

Luckily, you don’t have to quit ice cream entirely just because you’re diabetic. You do need to understand how ice cream and its ingredients affect your body. Make healthier choices based on facts, and you can continue to enjoy ice cream for a long time to come.  

Is Ice Cream Bad for Diabetics?

rolled ice cream

If you want ice cream, consider the amount of carbohydrates, fats, sugar, and additives in it. Making your own ice cream is also an option. In that case, you can try banana ice cream, frozen yogurt, and watermelon sorbets. We suggest this ice cream and  frozen yogurt maker if  you want to give homemade ice cream a try.

Table of Contents

What Is Ice Cream?

The concept of ice cream is familiar to most of us. We know it as frozen, creamy “stuff” taken from a container and scooped into a cup or on a cone. However, ice cream is defined by exact standards. Ice cream must meet two criteria in order to be labeled as such by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As the ice cream base freezes, excess air is whipped into it. An overrun-low product is heavier and denser than an overrun-high product. It is more common to label frozen treats as “frozen dairy desserts” rather than “ice cream” because they do not meet these two criteria. Marketing terms include reduced-fat ice cream, light ice cream, low-fat ice cream, and nonfat ice cream. Obviously, regular ice cream has a higher fat content than these products.

Tips for Choosing Ice Cream

If you don’t like regular ice cream, there are many options, including sugar-free Fudgsicles, which are less likely to raise your blood sugar.


Nevertheless, if that sweet tooth just won’t go away, here are some suggestions to satisfy your sweet tooth without causing high blood sugar levels.

Types of Ice Cream

Summer may be the season for ice cream, but let’s face it: we’ll enjoy it year-round. It doesn’t matter what your taste is. There’s an ice cream variety for everyone. We’ve compiled a list of many different types of ice cream.


The Italian cousin of ice cream, gelato is made without adding cream. Compared to traditional ice cream, this results in a lower milk fat percentage. Additionally, gelato is generally made without eggs and stabilizers. It has a dense, thick texture because it is not whipped with much air while being churned.


The frozen dessert sherbet contains dairy, similar to sorbet. In most cases, gelatin is added, fruit juice, cream or milk, egg whites, and sometimes gelatin itself. Typically, sherbet ice cream contains 1-3% milk fat. It is considered ice cream if the mixture contains more than 3% sugar. Water ice is defined as anything under 1%.


Unlike ice cream, sorbet contains little or no dairy. It is very light in texture and flavor since it is made from frozen berries and sweetened water. Sorbets aren’t always vegan, as many people believe. To help hold the mixture together, sorbets sometimes use egg whites.

Keto ice cream

Keto-friendly ice cream has only recently become available in the ice cream or frozen desserts section. Brands like Arctic Zero, Halo Top, Rebel, and Enlightened are common. These ice creams contain fewer calories and carbs than regular ice creams. They claim that they are keto-friendly.

Frozen Yogurt

In the current ice cream market, frozen yogurt, or Froyo, is extremely popular. It's a frozen treat similar to ice cream, but with less fat and sugar. It has a tart taste because of the yogurt added in.

Rolled ice cream

This ice cream originates from Thailand and is a popular street food in Southeast Asia. A Swiss roll-style ribbon of ice cream is created by heating, aeration, and rapidly cooling the standard ingredients (milk, cream, sugar). Watching the process of making it and seeing the final product is fascinating.

Snow Cream

In Taiwan, you can feast on this fluffy pile of ice cream shaved off a massive slab of creamy goodness. There is nothing better than combining sweetened condensed milk, fresh fruit, and chocolate to top off snow cream.

Italian Ice

In terms of ingredients and how it is made, this dairy-free frozen dessert is similar in many ways to sorbet. It is derived from the Sicilian granita. Italian ice has a slightly icier texture than sorbet, which is smoother on the tongue.

Types of Ice Cream

Depending on your dietary goals and preferences, low-sugar or sugar-free ice cream may be the right choice for you.

Blood sugar balance

Consider total carb content when trying to regulate your blood sugar. A high blood sugar level can be caused by carbs, regardless of their source. It is, therefore, essential to purchase sugar-free ice cream with a low-carb content. Protein and fiber can also help minimize potential blood sugar spikes, so buying products rich in both nutrients makes sense.

Calorie intake

Make sure to select ice cream with the lowest calorie content if you’re watching your weight. Compared with other macronutrients, these options typically have fewer calories per gram of fat. The higher fat versions, however, are still available if you prefer the creaminess of the higher fat version. You’ll need to watch your portion sizes to stay within your calorie limits.


Ingredients play an important role in determining the quality of food. Sugar-free alternatives may not contain as many nutrients as regular ice cream. Preservatives, gums, artificial colors, and stabilizers are often added to light or low-sugar ice creams to create an appearance and consistency similar to regular ice cream.

Other Food That Can Help Satisfy that Sweet Tooth

The risks associated with artificial sweeteners are not present with natural sweeteners. If used sporadically, they can be used to make desserts and satisfy your sweet tooth without raising your blood sugar levels. In case you have diabetes, here are a few tasty options to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Banana Ice Cream


It is handy to have fruits instead of desserts because they are delicious in taste and do not require any preparation. The nutrients, vitamins, and dietary fibre they contain are abundant. The benefits of fruits go beyond just being tasty desserts. Fruits like watermelon and grapes can be chilled or frozen to give them a popsicle-like texture. By freezing and blending your fruits, you can also make fruit sorbets.

Banana ice cream

With its high fibre content and sweet taste, bananas can curb your body’s need for sugar. Blend frozen bananas with low-fat milk or almond milk after freezing for an hour or two. Put the bowl in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes, then scoop it out.

Whole wheat fruit cake

Even diabetics can enjoy cakes in small portions if they’re made with fresh, healthy ingredients. Whole wheat, oats, or quinoa are the best bases. Protein can be added to this cake by adding milk, curd, or eggs. For dietary fibre, add fruits and nuts. In case of need, Stevia can be used. The cake will be a great dessert without affecting sugar levels because vanilla essence and plain cocoa powder don’t affect sugar levels.

ice cream

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate may help people with diabetes manage their condition. Blood sugar levels can be controlled more effectively by the antioxidants in this diabetic dessert. This helps lower blood sugar naturally and encourages insulin to be used more effectively. Some cells of the body secrete more insulin when they are exposed to flavanols in cocoa. Blood sugar is managed by insulin, which is a hormone. Look for dark chocolate that is sugar-free and contains at least 70% cocoa.

Avocado desserts

Feel free to indulge in this guilt-free avocado mousse. The healthy fats and fibre in avocados help regulate blood sugar levels. Add avocado, cocoa, dark chocolate, almond milk, a dash of vanilla essence, and an artificial sweetener or a natural sweetener such as agave or stevia. Chill the mixture after blending until smooth.

Greek yogurt-based desserts

People with diabetes can enjoy Greek yogurt. To satisfy your sweet tooth, whip greek yogurt smooth, add berries, nuts, and chill or consume immediately. To make a yogurt parfait, layer yogurt, granola, and berries. Add stevia, chocolate powder, cocoa powder, or protein powder to Greek yogurt and blend. Freeze it. Stir it every 20-25 minutes for about 1-2 hours to keep it airy.

Conclusion – Is Ice Cream Bad for Diabetics?

There’s no doubt that sugar is everyone’s enemy, not just those with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. 

However, you don’t need to completely cut sugar out of your diet. Instead, choose desserts and sweets that are more blood sugar-friendly, like the ones listed above.

If you must have ice cream, have it occasionally, choose healthier options, and limit your portions. Instead of eating a whole tub, just  have a scoop or two, just enough to  satisfy your sweet tooth.

You need not deprive yourself if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. At  the end of the day, it’s just about making wiser and healthier choices.

FAQs – Is Ice Cream Bad For Diabetics?

Can a Person with Diabetes Eat Ice Cream?

People with diabetes can eat ice cream. However, you need  to consider what type of ice cream you eat. If more than 20 grams of carbohydrates are consumed in half a serving, your blood sugar levels may rise. Just make sure to watch how much of it you eat, and check the amount  of carbohydrates in the nutrition facts label.

What Kind of Ice Cream Can a Type 2 Diabetic Eat? 

The best type of ice cream to choose is one with low sugar and carbs. It would be best if the ice cream contains no added sugar, only natural sugar, and has less than 20 grams of carbs per half-cup serving.  

Does Ice Cream Raise Blood Sugar?  

The carbohydrates and added sugars in ice cream may cause modest increases in blood sugar levels if eaten in moderation (1/2 cup). It also takes longer for fat-containing foods to digest than fat-free foods. The blood sugar levels are not triggered as quickly by an ice cream cone or a chocolate bar as you might expect.

What Foods Can People with Diabetes Eat Freely?

Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level should be the main objective. Eating foods that promote heart health is also essential for preventing diabetes complications. Managing and preventing diabetes can be significantly aided by a healthy diet. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics should eat foods such as fatty fish, leafy greens, avocados, eggs, chia seeds, beans, Greek yogurt, nuts, broccoli, extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseeds, apple cider vinegar and vinegar, strawberries, garlic, squash, and Shirataki noodles to stay healthy.

Can People with Diabetes Eat Pizza?

All types of pizza are safe for people with diabetes. Even though pizza is suitable for people with diabetes, it’s good for everyone to limit their intake. The eating of pizza is not restricted to those with diabetes. When it comes to keeping blood sugar levels within a reasonable range, a few slices of pie are often harder to control than a whole pie. Carbohydrates and fats are responsible for that. Thick crusts contain more carbs than thin crusts. A refined white flour crust can pack a pretty hefty glycemic punch, especially if it’s not a whole grain crust (like one made with cauliflower).

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