Can You Eat Ice Cream With Gestational Diabetes?

A healthy diet makes a good defense against gestational diabetes. Here, we explore whether there’s any room for ice…(continue reading)

“What can I eat?” is one of the most common questions that naturally arises after a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. 

This metabolic condition develops during pregnancy and includes higher blood sugar levels. It can lead to many pregnancy complications if not managed properly.

In most diabetes care plans, a healthy diet sits at the top of the list. Good nutrition is the first line of defense to prevent and manage gestational diabetes

Diet modification can help keep blood glucose levels within normal ranges during pregnancy, but where does that leave the sweet treats?

In this article, we look at whether or not ice cream can stay on the gestational diabetes menu.

Can I Eat Dessert With Gestational Diabetes?

When it comes to diabetes management, the name of the game is blood sugar control. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and involves impaired insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance

Blood sugar (glucose) levels rise when insulin isn’t can’t do its job properly. In many cases, diet modification can help get these rising blood sugar levels back under control. 

But where does that leave the dessert treats for those with an insatiable sweet tooth? As many pregnant women can attest, pregnancy and cravings go hand and hand. 

For many, cold treats like ice cream and smoothies are a staple among dessert foods. It hits the spot, cools you off on hot days, and helps curb sweet tooth cravings as a bedtime snack.

Thankfully, low-carb ice cream options can lessen the blow to blood sugar levels and fit dietary recommendations for gestational diabetes.

What Is the Relationship Between Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar?

Glucose, also known as blood sugar, is an essential fuel and energy source for our muscles, organs, and cells.

When we eat carbohydrates, our endocrine and digestive systems break down the vital macronutrients, converting them to glucose. The byproduct of fat metabolism is ketones

Glucose and Insulin

Once carbohydrates break down into glucose, that glucose gets deposited into the bloodstream — hence “blood sugar.” From there, it gets pushed into the body’s cells for fuel or stored as glycogen in the liver or muscle cells. 

Glucose gets pushed into the cells with the help of insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells within the pancreas. Aside from acting as a key to opening the door for glucose, insulin also helps keep it under control. 

More insulin is produced to help drive levels back down when blood sugar levels rise. In the case of gestational diabetes, factors like placenta hormone production and pregnancy weight gain can disrupt this process. 

Complex Carbs vs. Simple Carbs

The rate of blood sugar rise depends on the type of carbohydrates you consume. For example, complex carbohydrates digest very slowly, thanks to dietary fiber. This provides a slow and steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. 

The opposite is true for simple carbohydrates or simple sugars. These digest quickly, sending bursts of glucose into the bloodstream, spiking blood glucose levels, and creating the infamous “sugar rush.” This is the case for refined carbohydrates. 

Complex carbohydrates include:

  • Whole grains, like brown rice, oatmeal, and cereals.
  • Starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes and corn.
  • Legumes and beans, like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. 

Simple carbohydrates include:

  • Refined carbs, like white rice, white bread, and pasta.
  • Processed foods with added sugars, like juices and soda. 
  • Candy, sugar, and corn syrup. 

Gestational Diabetes and Ice Cream

So, where does ice cream fall in terms of carbohydrates? Well, it comes as no surprise that many ice creams are full of added sugars — not good for someone looking to manage blood sugar levels. But that doesn’t mean ice cream is completely off the menu. 

It all comes down to portion and ingredients. Not all ice cream is created equal. 

Some use full-fat milk, others low-fat or non-dairy alternatives.Some opt for added sugar and artificial sweeteners, others natural alternatives. There are also many low-carb and carb-free ice cream options for those with diabetes

The amount of carbohydrates makes a huge difference. Lower carb options can help keep spikes of blood sugar under control. 

How Many Carbs Can I Eat With Gestational Diabetes?

The truth is, there is no magic number in carb counting. Eating carbs in large amounts is not wise for any type of diabetes, whether type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational. Being mindful of carb content is vital for managing blood sugar levels. 

But, when it comes down to a target number, the grams of carbs you should aim for depends on your age, weight, level of activity, and more. 

How Can I Eat Ice Cream With Gestational Diabetes?

Let’s look at a few tips for choosing a good ice cream option for those with gestational diabetes.

Nutrition Labels

Read the entire label, even the fine print. You want to check the number of carbs and the number of sugars. Most low-carb ice cream options have no added sugars and use natural sweeteners like stevia. 

Avoid ice creams with hidden sugars, typically buried under other names like fructose, dextrose, or corn syrup.

Portions

It may be tempting to sit on the couch, streaming your favorite show while trying to find the bottom of your favorite pint of ice cream — but fight the urge. In addition to nutritional facts, labels come with portions or serving sizes. Stick to these.

It is the only way to ensure you stick to the right amount of carbohydrates. This may mean measuring out portion sizes. 

Protein and Fat

The amount of protein and fat in food directly affects the carbohydrate and sugar absorption rates. The same is true when it comes to ice cream. 

Ice cream with high protein and fat content will help promote slower absorption, which means less of a blood sugar spike. 

Mixed Ice Creams

Stick to the basics, like chocolate and vanilla. Mixed ice creams with extra candies, cookies, and cookie doughs will add a lot of carbs and sugar. 

This is even true when it comes to ice cream with mixed fruit. For example, vanilla ice cream mixed with mango will add extra carbs and sugar from the fruit alone.

What Ice Cream Can I Eat With Gestational Diabetes?

The keto diet lifestyle is tailored to fit those needing low-carb food options. Keto-friendly ice creams tend to have low carbohydrate content, higher protein, and little added sugar. 

On the surface, keto-friendly ice creams may look to have the same amount of carbohydrates as other ice creams. However, the difference is between total carbs versus net carbs.

Total carbs refer to the total grams of carbs in a food. Net carbs are the total carbs minus the grams of fiber, sugar alcohol, or digestible carbs. Why is this important?

Total Carbs vs. Net Carbs 

Let’s take this example: A piece of bread and a cup of raspberries may have the same total carbs — say 15 grams. 

The fruit will keep you fuller much longer because of the digestible fiber content (8 g). So, one cup of raspberries would have lower “net carbs” at 7 g compared to the slice of bread.

A popular choice for keto ice cream is Halo Top Vanilla Bean. At 100 calories per serving, it has 21 g of carbohydrates with 6 g of fiber and 8 g of sugar alcohol. This equates to roughly 8 g of net carbs per serving.

Monitoring Blood Sugar

When it comes to gestational diabetes, glucose monitoring is vitally important to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies. 

While numerous risk factors can lead to high blood sugar during pregnancy, monitoring diet is key. 

Screenings for gestational diabetes occur during prenatal visits, typically in the second trimester of pregnancy, through a type of glucose test.

In addition to diet, healthcare providers may recommend daily exercise, medications like metformin, dietary supplements, and insulin injections to help control blood sugar levels. 

The Bottom Line 

One of the ways gestational diabetes is managed is through diet, causing many to wonder where sweet treats like ice cream fit on the menu. Thankfully, low-carb ice cream options help satisfy the sweet tooth without driving your blood sugar through the roof. 

A dietitian or diabetes healthcare educator can help advise you on healthy dessert options to fit your unique dietary needs. 

References, Studies and Sources:

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes | CDC

Dietary Recommendations for Gestational Diabetes | UCSF Health

Carbohydrates | American Heart Association

Hidden in Plain Sight | Sugar Science | UCSF

Fact Checked and Editorial Process

Diabetic.org is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by hiring experts, journalists, medical professionals, and our growing Diabetic.org community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Camille Freking and medically reviewed by Dr. Angel Rivera.

fact checked and medically reviewed

Does Sugar Cause Diabetes?

There’s a longstanding correlation between sugar and diabetes, but is sugar really the villain behind your high blood glucose level? Find out here.

Read More »

Can Crocs Help Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

We will also look at whether or not Crocs are good for treating plantar fasciitis and what to look for when purchasing Crocs for this condition. Finally, we will provide some tips on how to prevent plantar fasciitis altogether.

Read More »

Does Diabetes Cause Hammertoes?

When you have uncontrolled diabetes it affects the blood sugar levels in your body and can lead to a variety of health problems including hammertoe. In this article, we will discuss hammertoes and how they are related to diabetes.

Read More »

How Does Diabetes Cause Leg, Foot, and Toe Pain?

In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and the effective treatment options available for those who suffer from the condition while also highlighting its causes and giving you tips on how to prevent it.

Read More »

Diabetic Nerve Pain in Ankle, Feet and Legs

Diabetic neuropathy is a condition that results from damage to the nerves due to high blood sugar levels and nerve damage can cause a wide range of symptoms including pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, and weakness. In some cases, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious complications such as diabetic foot ulcers.

Read More »

Best Foot Soak for Neuropathy

In this article, we will discuss foot soaks and other natural home remedies for neuropathy while also exploring other treatment options available to if you suffer from this condition.

Read More »

Can Diabetes Cause Headaches?

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about how diabetes and headaches are connected as we will cover the different types of headaches that can be caused by high blood sugar and low blood sugar, as well as other ways diabetes can lead to headache pain.

Read More »

Learn more about an Insulin Resistance Diet

In this article, we will discuss the importance of diet for insulin resistance, provide some tips on how to follow a healthy diet, and tell you which foods you need to avoid to help you best combat your insulin resistance.

Read More »

What is Prediabetes?

In this article, we will discuss what prediabetes is, the symptoms of prediabetes, how prediabetes is diagnosed, and the treatment options for prediabetes.

Read More »
a1c

Fructosamine to A1C: How are they related?  

Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, is a condition that affects millions of people all over the world. It can be difficult to manage, but with the right tools and information, it is possible to live a healthy life with diabetes. One of the most important tools for managing diabetes is understanding fructosamine levels and hemoglobin A1C levels. In this article, we will explain what fructosamine and hemoglobin A1C are, and discuss the relationship between these two measures. We will also provide tips on how to test your fructosamine and hemoglobin A1C levels correctly.

Read More »

Prediabetes weight loss: Can it help?

If you have prediabetes, you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes because prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, prediabetes can often be treated with weight loss. In this article, we will explore the relationship between prediabetes and weight loss and find out if losing weight is an effective treatment for prediabetes. We will also cover all other treatment options available to you if you have prediabetes and what causes it.

Read More »
Gabapentin weight gain?

Does Gabapentin cause weight gain? Learn more about the side effects.

Gabapentin is a prescription drug that is used to treat various medical conditions such as seizures, restless legs syndrome, and nerve pain and it belongs to a class of anticonvulsant medication. Gabapentin works by decreasing the number of seizures you have, relieving pain, and improving your sleep among several other benefits. If you take gabapentin you also may experience weight gain as a side effect. In this article, we will discuss how gabapentin causes weight gain, how to stop it, and other potential risks associated with taking this medication.

Read More »

Prediabetes Treatment

If prediabetes is not treated, it can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The good news is that prediabetes is treatable and you can prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes by following the prediabetes treatment options listed.

Read More »

Prediabetes Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Options

Prediabetes is a condition that affects millions of people in the United States and it is defined as having a blood sugar level that is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. When you have prediabetes, it often leads to type 2 diabetes if it is not treated. In this article, we will discuss what prediabetes is, the symptoms of prediabetes, the causes of prediabetes, and the treatment options for prediabetes among other topics.

Read More »
The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet Journal: 2nd Edition

The essential companion to the newly revised Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet book, The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet Journal will help you track your daily and weekly progress as you lose weight, lower your blood sugar, and improve your overall lifestyle.

Top Destinations

Recent Articles

60-DAY MONEY BACK Guarantee
Nature's Secret for Healthy Blood Sugar
10/10 Our Score

The #1 Rated Blood Sugar Formula, 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

BeLiv's proprietary  blend of 24 powerful ingredients supports healthy blood sugar in normal ranges

  • Natural Formula
  • Plant Ingredients
  • Non-GMO
  • Easy To Swallow
  • No Stimulants
  • Non-Habit Forming

Stay in Touch

Share On

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

What’s the Average Week of Delivery With Gestational Diabetes?

Chris Riley

Chris Riley

A diagnosis of gestational diabetes can send you searching for answers. Find out what you should know about managing

What Is a Good Gestational Diabetes Diet To Follow?

Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Newly diagnosed with gestational diabetes? Diabetic.org is here to offer guidance for one important starting point: the ideal gestational diabetes

The Ultimate Gestational Diabetes Vegetarian Meal Plan

Chris Riley

Chris Riley

A healthy diet is important to manage gestational diabetes. We look at some of the best vegetarian meal plans

Join Our Newsletter

Get exclusive offers, advice, and tips from Diabetic.org delivered to your inbox.