Ice Cream and Diabetes

We’re in the hottest time of summer today, when a lot people have nice cold ice cream in mind… July also happens to be National Ice Cream Month AND we only marked National Ice Cream Day last Sunday, so what a totally perfect time to revisit the subject of ice cream and diabetes and the universal concerns it brings.

Ice Cream and Diabetes (Revisited)

Another day, following a casual dinner at home, my wife and I went out for ice cream.

We’d opted to leave the air-conditioned security of our home on this 90+ degree afternoon, to head to get an ice cream parlor that’s only a short stroll from our residence.

As we stood there pondering the specific taste creations which sounded best, I glanced in my own Dexcom CGM to see where my blood glucose happened to be and exactly what that would mean for my carbohydrate counting and insulin dosing. Seeing a 97 mg/dL in my receiver, I smiled and rattled off the number to my wife who’d moved toward the counter to tell the clerk her decision. I rarely deviate from picking either a plain scoop of vanilla, or a ‘unfancy’ single-scoop hot fudge sundae.

But in this moment, I chose to go with a single scoop of rocky road, filled with chocolatey goodness and teeming with marshmallows and nuts. I had been hurting myself, after all.

A girl nearby had seemingly uttered the first part of our conversation and realized I had been talking about diabetes. She shot me a look before saying, “You can not eat that!

Without over a minute’s hesitation, I took back a quick, decisive response: “Yes, I could!

That began a back and forth I would have preferred to prevent, about the way this lady was nosing in on a private matter which didn’t disturb her one which she had no private insight into without a context as to who I was or how I had been managing my diabetes and this specific food choice.

It was not any of her company in the first place naturally, but still she insisted that she understands a good deal about diabetes and what PWDs can or cannot eat, because she’s family members who happen to live with it.

can diabetics eat ice cream?We in the Diabetes Community understand this kind of person well. They’re known as the Diabetes Police, who think they know best and can not resist interjecting themselves into the middle of our D-decision-making no matter what the circumstance.

Can Diabetics Eat Ice Cream?

This is an age-old question and the argument gets more heated (!) During those warmer summer months — particularly in July, which happens to National Ice Cream Month, and also the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day.

We have covered this problem at the ‘Mine earlier and it has been touched on by friends across the DOC:

  • Our columnist Wil Dubois offered his insight into his weekly Ask D’Mine column, when digging into the Good and Evil Ice Cream question.
  • Jess Apple in A Sweet Life shared some private remarks on ice cream and related advocacy.

The issue then was a newspaper columnist in Central Indiana who hammered a local diabetes association that runs a camp for kids with type 1. This self-described health nut and TV chef criticized the Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana for carrying a summer ice cream social to raise money for kids to attend camp. As a result, the DOC took to arms to school him point out that, he didn’t understand what he was talking about.

Her attention: revealing the D-Community and general people that PWDs CAN eat ice cream when we want.

“We could still enjoy daily items, in moderation… and it is a decision we make, versus a rule to split,” she explained. “I really wish to help build awareness in people’s heads — even some fearful diabetics’ minds   — which we aren’t beneath dietary lock and key, all the time.”

That online social lasted for four years before fading away. Yet, though the ice cream awareness and advocacy have melted away to some extent, it never truly disappears — as witnessed by the girl in my area critizing me for ordering a scoop.

What folks like her need to understand is that food choices are important, whether you have diabetes or not. Everyone has to make individual decisions and manage them well.

I decided that day to relish rocky road, knowing I had my super-fast Afrezza inhaled insulin on hand so I could enjoy this deal without seeing much of a spike in blood sugars. That is a double cure right there!

Best Kind of Ice Cream for Diabetes?

OK, so is there a best form of ice cream for diabetics? What about those heavily-marketed “no sugar added” varieties?

ice cream with diabetesPersonally, as a kind 1, I find it best to look at the carbohydrate count and supplements information on almost any ice cream — whether it is tagged “diabetic friendly” or not — and then manage my own dosing accordingly.

A lot people find that sugar-free ice creams upset our stomachs due to its sugar alcohols and sucralose, which aren’t easy to digest. Plus, we know all too well that “sugar free” doesn’t mean “carbohydrate free” — you are eating milk and other carbohydrates that raise blood glucose. In most cases, eating a moderate part of real ice cream is a much better thing to do.

Bottom line for those of us with Any Sort of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes):

Of course, we could eat ice cream. Just like we could eat bread, macaroni and cheese, or watermelon. Whether we choose to, and the way we manage to keep tabs on our blood sugar levels, is a private approach that varies for everybody.

But rest assured that enjoying a single spoonful of ice cream on a hot summer evening is not going to hurt me. And it is not a crime. It might be a different story if it had been a nightly event, if I had been downing an whole tub, or even when I had been indulging in this type of deal with already-sky-high blood sugars.

What I am attempting to say is that having diabetes doesn’t mean treats are always off-limits, so long as we are mindful of exactly what impact it has on our bodies.

Am I correct, rocky road lovers?

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a customer health blog concentrated on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and doesn’t stick to Healthline’s editorial instructions. For more information about Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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