The Nutritional Value of Sugar-Free Ice Cream
We’re becoming more conscious than we used to be of what’s in our food and what’s healthy to eat. People enjoy ice cream as a sweet dessert, but don’t enjoy the health effects of eating too much sugar or fat. Most sugar-free ice creams are low in fat yet creamy in texture and look. You can easily replace traditional ice creams with ice creams that are sweetened with maltitol instead of sugar. But there are both advantages and disadvantages to eating sugar-free ice cream.
Sugar-free ice creams are made with a combination of Splenda or NutraSweet, and sugar alcohols such as xylitol. These ice creams can be used as a dessert, a snack, in a milkshake, sundae, or smoothie, or mixed with fresh fruit or berries. People who want to enjoy the rich, creaminess of ice cream, but who like to avoid fat and sugar in their diets, can choose these ice creams. Importantly, sugar-free ice creams are also a good source of calcium and Vitamin D.
In addition, sugar-free ice creams are almost lactose-free, because the ice cream mixture is treated before production with an enzyme that breaks down the lactose in the dairy.
Our body will not absorb sugar substitutes, so sugar substitutes, such as the ones used in sugar-free ice cream, generally do not affect blood sugar. But our body will absorb sugar alcohols, albeit very inefficiently; hence, sugar-free ice creams do have a tiny effect on blood sugar.
Serving Size and Calories
One serving of sugar-free ice cream is defined as a half-cup, and usually contains 70 calories per serving, but there are exceptions.
Sugar-free ice cream usually contains fat, but make sure you check the nutrition facts label to be sure. If fat-free milk is used as the main ingredient, the fat content will be zero. Of course, not all sugar-free ice cream is fat-free, so sometimes there is even more fat in these ice creams than you would find in traditional ice cream.
Carbohydrate, Sugar, and Fiber
If you want to check the nutrition values of a sugar-free ice cream, you can find them on the facts label. The total carbohydrates are segregated into sugar, fiber, and sometimes, other starches. Remember, sugar-free does not mean carbohydrate-free. Blood sugar responds to carbohydrate intake, not just sugar intake. So, even though an ice cream is sugar-free, that doesn’t mean that you should eat as much of it as you want.
On the whole, summer is the perfect time to enjoy ice cream. Sugar-free ice cream may look like the right answer to those ice cream cravings when you’re on a diet. But sugar-free ice creams are not calorie-free. Sugar alcohol contains a fair amount of carbohydrates, which is not good for diabetics. Remember, eating sugar-free food can raise blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.