Ice cream, ice lollies & frozen yoghurt
With the first glimpses of some sunshine last weekend, we've seen a few ladies asking about ice cream & ice lollies in our Facebook support group and so whilst this was on my list of posts coming soon, I've brought it forward for all you eager ladies that are craving ice cream and let's face it, who cares what the weather is doing, we love ice cream!
So can we eat ice cream, ice lollies and frozen yoghurt with gestational diabetes?
Here we'll share hints & tips and our best finds...
Diabetic & sugar free ice cream
Diabetic or sugar free ice cream is often the first thing ladies turn to with gestational diabetes. There are lots of these 'diabetic' ice creams on the market, some like Frank's are widely available in many supermarkets and it's common to see diabetic ice creams in independent ice cream parlours.
These ice creams are fine to eat with gestational diabetes but you shouldn't have to pay more for these 'diabetic' products and should be aware of the ingredients used.
Diabetic ice creams often contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners (sometimes listed as polyols or sugar alcohols) which may cause gastric upsets, bloating, cramps, wind and diarrhoea. Sorbitol and mannitol can be the main culprit for causing gastric upset, but some people struggle with other sweeteners causing gastric upsets too. Natural sweeteners are often better tolerated than artificial.
Diabetic ice creams can sometimes have a funny after taste or texture too, so whilst they shouldn't send your blood sugar levels soaring, you may find alternatives which suit you better. That said, sometimes it's just enough to take the ice cream craving away when you're walking along the beach!
99, Mr Whippy & Mcfluffy (soft serve ice cream)
It is up to you to decide if you think it is safe to eat this type of soft serve ice cream during your pregnancy with respect to bacterial contamination risks from poorly cleaned machines and the merchant you are purchasing from.
A typical soft serve ice cream (Mr Whippy, or 99) in a basic cone and flake can contain around 20-40g total carbs depending on the size. The cone has around 3g carbs, the flake 5g and the rest is sugar in the ice cream itself.
It's hard to find the exact carb count for Mr Whippy/99 cones, but we've done our best from searching numerous sites online.
With regards to gestational diabetes, you may wish to know that this type of ice cream can have more than the total carb amount found in main meal depending on the size!...
There are around 40g of carbohydrates in a plain McFlurry (just ice cream).
Taking a look through the McDonald's website it would seem that McFluffy's range between 40g total carbs for a plain one, right up to a scary 63g total carbs in a Cadbury's Creme Egg McFluffy!
- McDonald's Dairy Milk McFluffy has 46g total carbs
- McDonald's Oreo McFluffy has 47g total carbs
- McDonald's Cadbury's Caramel Mcfluffy has a whopping 60g carbs, that's the equivalent to 15 tsp of sugar!!
- McDonald's small ice cream cones have 22g total carbs or one with a flake 27g total carbs
- Burgerking Oreo Fusion has 39g total carbs
- Burgerking KitKat Fusion has 52g total carbs
Ice cream milkshakes
All I can say is walk the other way!
Ice cream milkshakes should come with a huge sugar warning sign on them!
These thick, creamy milkshakes can contain anything from 66g - 90g of total carbs for a medium or large serving!
There is a HUGE 90g of carbs in a large banana flavoured McDonald's milkshake is the equivalent of 22 ½ tsp of sugar!!
Safer milkshake options
Great news, in the last year we have seen the launch of some much better milkshake alternatives for all you ladies craving milkshakes! Yazoo has launched a no added sugar range in strawberry, banana and toffee flavours, Frijj has launched a ZERO range in chocolate, strawberry and mango & passion fruit flavours and Crusha liquid that you add to milk is now no added sugar too.
The Yazoo and Frijj still contain the lactose (natural sugars from the milk), but if you tolerate milk well, then you should tolerate these milkshakes fine too!
Don't forget that you can also easily make your own milkshakes using full fat milk, or almond milk and some cocoa or Sweet Freedom choc shot!
Iced fruit smoothies, iced coffees & coolers
Unfortunately these icy, refreshing and fruity drinks can also be packed with sugar. Not such a big surprise when we know that fruit itself and even more so, fruit juice and sweet syrups can spike levels very high, very quickly.
- Starbucks Tall (small) Iced Chai Tea Latte, skimmed milk, 33g total carbs
- Costa Primo (small) Watermelon & Strawberry Cooler, 36g total carbs
- McDonald's (medium) Strawberry & Banana Iced Fruit Smoothie, 40g total carbs
- McDonald's (regular) Caramel Iced Frappé, 46g total carbs
- Costa Medio (medium) Mango & Passionfruit Cooler, 57g total carbs
- Costa Massimo (large) full fat Caramel Latte Cooler, 61g total carbs
Lower carb iced/cold drinks to take out, but many still contain high carbs so beware...
WATER! This is our top recommendation!! 0g carbs and no added artificial sweeteners! The best way to flush blood sugar levels through the body and handy for tipping onto a tissue when testing blood sugar levels...win, win!
- McDonald's Sprite Zero, 0g carbs
- McDonald's Diet Coke, 0g carbs
- Starbucks Venti Iced Americano, 4g total carbs
- Starbucks Tall Iced Cappuccino, coconut milk, 7g total carbs
- Starbucks Tall Iced Cafe Latte, skimmed milk, 9g total carbs
- Starbucks Grande Iced Cafe Latte, soya milk, 9g total carbs
- Starbucks Tall Cool Lime Refresha, 13g total carbs
- Costa Primo Soya Coffee Cooler, 16g total carbs
- Starbucks Tall skimmed milk frappuccino, no whip, 18g total carbs
- Costa Primo Full Fat Coffee Cooler, 18g total carbs
- Starbucks Tall skimmed milk mocha frappuccino, no whip, 21g total carbs
- Starbucks Tall skimmed milk caramel frappuccino, no whip, 21g total carbs
- Costa Primo Peach Iced Lemonade, 22g total carbs
- Costa Primo Summer Fruit Punch, 23g total carbs
Our better gestational diabetes ice cream finds...
Best widely available ice cream
Our favourite ice cream which is widely available to buy and at reasonable price is Walls Light Soft Scoop Vanilla. 17g carbs per 100g, which works out as 7.5g carbs per 100ml or two scoops! A scoop paired with nuts and cream can make for a very well tolerated ice cream treat!
Best budget ice cream
Asda Smart price ice cream has just 7.9g carbs per 100ml or two scoops and is only 92p per 2ltr tub, making this the cheapest lower carb ice cream if you're on a budget.
Best luxury ice cream
Oppo ice creams are an indulgent ice cream that they say can be eaten 'guilt free'. These luxury ice creams made with cold pressed virigin coconut oil and are sweetened with stevia leaf which is a natural sweetener.
These are by far the BEST GD friendly luxury ice creams we have found!
Oppo ice creams come in a few different flavours and each one is low in carbs and sugar. Choose from Madagascan Vanilla - 8.2g carbs, Salted Caramel - 7.6g carbs , or Mint Choc Swirl - 7.6g carbs. Their newest flavour is Colombian Chocolate and Hazelnut - 7.5g carbs.
Carb amounts are per 100ml, or two scoops.
Check out where you can buy Oppo as more stores are starting to stock this ice cream now. Oppo is available to buy online with Ocado, or in some Waitrose, Co-Op, Holland & Barretts, Budgens, ASDA, Sainsbury's and Wholefoods stores.
High protein ice creams
Over the last year or so we have seen a few newer 'high protein' ice creams hitting the everyday supermarket freezer shelves that many ladies with gestational diabetes have tried.
The top 3 newer widely available ones are Halo Top, Breyer's and Wheyhey ice creams. Nutritionally they are not as good as OPPO, but they can be tolerated by many ladies eaten in sensible amounts (don't get carried away with the whole tub though or you may suffer!)
Best dairy free ice cream
Perfect World ice cream is dairy free, wheat free and has no added sugar but they do contain nuts making them a good non dairy ice cream alternative.
Perfect World ice creams contain sweeteners (xylitol, erythritol, steviol glycosides), shown as polyols on the nutritional information. So although these ice creams look higher in carbs than some others, it means the carbs in will release much slower into the bloodstream.
Flavours available are Banana Walnut Chip - 16g carbs, Belgian Chocolate Brownie - 15g carbs, Loads of Strawberry - 13g carbs and A Taste of Carrot Cake 14g carbs (although you may wish to know that there is 275mg of Vitamin A in this flavour). Carb amounts are per 100ml or two scoops.
Perfect World ice cream is available to buy in some Tesco, Holland & Barretts and from Ocado online.
Best widely available ice cream lolly
Walls mini milk ice cream lollies are a great wee ice cream treat when you are out and about and don't want to miss out on having an ice cream. At only 5.1g carbs per lolly, these are the perfect size for a gestational diabetes treat, snack or dessert that won't spike blood sugar levels!
Best frozen yoghurt lollies
Claudi & Fin Greek Style frozen yoghurt lollies are one of my favourite little treats which are now popping up in more stores. Choose between larger lollies which are 55ml (50g), in either strawberry (6.9g carbs per lolly), or mango flavour (7.3g carbs per lolly).
Or they also make minis which are 30ml (30g) available in the same flavours plus a peach & apricot too (ranging between 4.0g - 4.6g total carbs per lolly).
Claudi & Fin are available in some Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Ocado, Budgens and SuperValu
Frozen chocolate ice cream treat lollies
These are a higher carb treat. Magnum minis and shops own brand equivalents can be a sweet chocolate ice cream treat which some ladies will be able to tolerate. Check the box looking at the total carbohydrates per lolly and you will see that they range between 10g - 17g carbs per lolly.
The Magnum minis are between 15g - 17g total carbs per lolly and so whilst this would be a higher carb snack, when eaten with more protein such as nuts or peanut butter, you could have a chocolate ice cream treat and still keep blood sugar levels within target range.
Being a higher carb treat, it is advisable to test after eating this to see how well you personally tolerate it.
PLEASE NOTE: These are MINI Magnums, not full size! A full size plain chocolate magnum has 23g total carbs and a white chocolate one has 26g total carbs
Best ice poles, freeze pops
Many ladies seem to crave ice poles or freeze pops in the hot weather and eat them without thinking about the carb content. A popular brand like Mr Freeze ice pops contain around 7g total carbs per lolly, which on it's own isn't too bad. The problem comes when ladies eat a few of these a day and with nearly 2 tsp of sugar per lolly, it is a lot of extra sugar that can easily be forgotten about yet could be feeding your baby. Jubbly lollies have around 4g total carbs per lolly which is equivalent to 1 tsp of sugar, once again not too bad as long as you don't over indulge.
Why use eat any carbs when you can get completely sugar free alternatives?
Our best ice poles/freezepops are Calypso Disney sugar free freezepops made with sucralose. They come in a few different flavours and are available in a few big supermarkets such as ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury's.
Make your own lollies
It is so easy to make your own ice lollies. There's tons of different ice lolly moulds available, especially around Summertime. Pick them up in the supermarket, in a £ shop, or online.
You can get standard hard plastic ice lolly moulds, silicone moulds like Calippo push up lollies, or you can use any ice cube tray or small freezable plastic pots with lolly sticks.
You have so much choice when you make your own lollies at home, from no added sugar drinking squash, to zero or diet sugar free fizzy drinks and milk lollies made with almond or coconut milk and melted chocolate or blitzed summer berries.
The great thing about making your own lollies is that you decide what ingredients to use and so you can make them completely sugar free!
Slushy cup makers
A saviour last summer for our ladies were the Slushy cup makers such as these Chill Factor Slushy Cup Makers from Argos. There's tons of different ones available in shops, but they are a great way of making sugar free slushy drinks.
Home made ice creams
Home made ice cream can be easy to make if you have an ice cream maker, but can be a bit more tricky without. Low Carb, So Simple share a recipe for a low carb 3 ingredient, 5 minute ice cream for 2 which does not need an ice cream maker, just ice, freezer bags, salt and a towel!
If you do have an ice cream maker then there are tons of great low carb ice cream recipes available online such as this recipe, Low Carb Death by Chocolate Ice Cream shared on All Day I Dream About Food
Check out the total carbs
There are lots of ice creams and ice lollies available which have lower carb content, you just need to check the nutritional information to see the total carb amount per serving and think about ingredients which are bound to spike your levels high.
Lots of mini sized lollies and ice creams are available so check the carb content and make a sensible decision over which ones to try. Avoid ones which have pure sugar or sweet coatings such as hundreds & thousands etc.
Pairing the ice cream or lolly with additional protein and natural fats will always help slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Beware of frozen yoghurt & 'healthier' or 'light' options
Frozen yoghurt can contain the same and sometimes more carbs than high carb ice creams. Just because a product is made from yoghurt does not mean that it will have less carbs, so beware and don't fall for the typical 'healthier option' without first checking the total carbs per serving.
The same goes with low fat ice creams, ice creams made with coconut milk, or pistachio etc. Just because we believe these look like better alternatives, they can often contain high amounts of carbs which may spike blood sugar levels.
Need more help?
For more information on following the diet we advocate, take a look at our 8 golden rules for eating.
If you're still struggling for ideas and inspiration, looking for extra hints & tips, shopping lists and help with takeaways and eating out then take a look at our membership options.