Ice cream has long been enjoyed as a sweet dessert. For people who want that cold creamy treat without all the sugar, there is sugar free, or no sugar added ice cream. Manufacturers that offer these lower calorie treats include Hershey's, Edy's, Turkey Hill, Blue Bunny, Breyer's, Skinny Cow, Dreyer's, Clemmy's, and Baskin-Robbins.
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Sugar free or no sugar added ice creams are generally made with a combination of sugar substitutes such as Splenda or NutraSweet, and sugar alcohols such as xylitol. These work together to add sweetness while reducing carbohydrate, sugar and calories. Sugar substitutes are not absorbed by the body, so they will not affect blood sugar. Sugar alcohols are absorbed very inefficiently by the body, so they will have a very minor effect on blood sugar.
Serving Size and Calories
In general, a serving of ice cream is one scoop or a half cup. A sugar free ice cream like Turkey Hill No Sugar Added Dutch Chocolate has 70 calories per serving. The regular Dutch Chocolate flavor made by Turkey Hill has 150 calories. Edy's No Sugar Added Triple Chocolate ice cream has 110 calories, and Blue Bunny No Sugar Added Chocolate ice cream also has 110 calories.
The fat content of a sugar free ice cream is usually zero, but you have to check the nutrition facts label to be sure. The fat content will only be zero if fat free milk is the main ingredient. Sugar free does not mean fat free, so sometimes there is even more fat in sugar free ice creams than regular ice cream. Turkey Hill No Sugar Added Dutch Chocolate ice cream has 0 g fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Their regular Dutch Chocolate flavor has 7 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat, and 25 mg cholesterol. Similar numbers are found with Edy's and Blue Bunny brands ice cream.
Carbohydrate, Sugar, and Fiber
On a nutrition facts label, total carbohydrate is broken down into sugar, fiber, and sometimes, other starches. It's very important to remember that sugar free does not mean carbohydrate free. Blood sugar reacts to carbohydrate intake, not just sugar intake. So, sugar free does not mean you can eat all you want. Turkey Hill No Sugar Added Dutch Chocolate has 20 g total carbohydrate, which is equivalent to about one serving of carbohydrate or about one diabetic exchange. There are also 5 g sugar, and 6 gm dietary fiber. The regular Turkey Hill Dutch Chocolate ice cream has 19 g total carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, and 14 g sugar.