Is sugar free ice cream low in carbs?

Quick Answer

Sugar free ice cream can be lower in carbs than regular ice cream, but it depends on the specific brand and flavor. Many sugar free ice creams still contain around 12-20g net carbs per serving, which is moderately low but not as low carb as some ultra low carb ice cream options that have only 1-4g net carbs per serving.

How Many Carbs are in Sugar Free Ice Cream?

The amount of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) in sugar free ice cream can vary greatly depending on the specific brand and flavor. Here are some general carb counts for popular sugar free ice cream brands:

Halo Top

– Serving size: 1/2 cup
– Net carbs range: 3-14g per serving

Halo Top is a popular low-calorie, low carb ice cream brand. Their sugar free flavors range from around 3-14g net carbs per 1/2 cup serving. Flavors like Birthday Cake and Pancakes & Waffles are on the higher carb end while flavors like Chocolate Almond Crunch and Lemon Cake are lower in carbs.

Breyers CarbSmart

– Serving size: 1/2 cup
– Net carbs range: 15-17g per serving

Breyers CarbSmart ice creams are sweetened with sucralose and contain about 15-17g net carbs per serving. Their sugar free flavors include Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Neapolitan.

Hood Low Carb

– Serving size: 1/2 cup
– Net carbs range: 15-18g per serving

Hood Low Carb ice cream is another sugar free, low carb option with around 15-18g net carbs per serving depending on the flavor. They offer Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Neapolitan sugar free varieties.

Rebel Creamery Keto

– Serving size: 1/2 cup
– Net carbs range: 1-4g per serving

Rebel Creamery focuses on ultra low carb, high fat keto ice cream. Their sugar free flavors like Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Mint Chip have only 1-4g net carbs per serving. Their keto ice creams are sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol.

Enlightened Keto

– Serving size: 1/2 cup
– Net carbs range: 3-8g per serving

Enlightened makes low carb and keto ice creams, including sugar free flavors sweetened with erythritol and stevia. Their keto ice creams range from 3-8g net carbs per serving depending on the flavor.

So as you can see, sugar free ice creams can vary quite a bit in their carb content. Some regular low carb options still have around 15g net carbs per serving, while ultra low carb keto ice creams can be under 5g.

Why Do Some Sugar Free Ice Creams Have More Carbs?

The main factors that affect the carb content in sugar free ice cream include:

Type of Sweeteners

Some sugar free ice creams are sweetened with maltitol syrup which is a sugar alcohol derived from maltose. Maltitol has a high glycemic index and carbohydrate content. Ice creams sweetened with maltitol tend to be higher in carbs. Brands that use erythritol or monk fruit as sweeteners tend to be lowest in carbs.

Added Fiber

Some brands add soluble corn fiber or chicory root fiber to help offset the carbs and reduce the glycemic impact. This added fiber also improves texture. Brands with added fiber tend to have lower net carb counts.

Protein Type and Content

Higher protein and lower fat content can increase the carb percentage in sugar free ice cream. Brands that use a fat-focused keto formula with minimal protein tend to have the lowest carbs.

Thickeners and Stabilizers

Ingredients like guar gum, carrageenan, and dextrose are used as thickeners and stabilizers in sugar free ice cream. Some of these can slightly increase the carbohydrate content.

Mix-in Ingredients

The mix-in ingredients like cookies, candies, swirls, and variegates in flavors like cookie dough and chocolate fudge can add more carbs from things like chocolate chips or cookie dough. Plain flavors tend to be lowest.

So in general, brands that use low glycemic sweeteners, add fiber, minimize protein, and avoid starchy mix-ins tend to be lowest in carbs. Reading the nutrition labels is the best way to compare sugar free ice creams.

Do Sugar Alcohols Count as Carbs?

Sugar alcohols are commonly used as “sugar-free” sweeteners in low carb ice creams. The most common ones are:


Erythritol has 0.2 calories and 0.95g carbs per gram, of which 0.9g is not digested or absorbed. So it contributes minimal calories and carbs.


Xylitol has 2.4 calories and 13g carbs per 100g, with about 10g not absorbed. It’s higher in carbs than erythritol.


Maltitol has 2.1 calories and 9.1g of carbs per gram, with about 50% absorbed. It has a high glycemic impact compared to other sugar alcohols.


Sorbitol has 2.6 calories and 9.6g carbs per gram, with about 20% absorption. It’s more likely to cause digestive side effects.

The FDA allows manufacturers to subtract half to all of the grams of sugar alcohols from the total carbs when calculating net carbs. But sugar alcohols can still raise blood sugar and provide calories in significant amounts, so most keto experts recommend counting at least half of the sugar alcohol carbs.

What About the Glycemic Index of Sugar Free Ice Cream?

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar. Sugar free ice creams made with different sweeteners can vary in their glycemic impact:

– Erythritol has a GI of 0 and does not affect blood sugar.

– Xylitol has a GI around 7, much lower than sugar.

– Maltitol has a GI of 35 and can spike blood sugar higher.

– Aspartame has a GI less than sugar.

– Sucralose has no GI impact.

– Stevia leaf extracts have no GI impact.

So sugar free ice creams sweetened with maltitol will have the biggest effect on blood sugar. Erythritol or monk fruit sweetened ice creams will have a negligible impact. For people monitoring sugars or diabetes, the type of sweetener matters.

Do All Sugar Free Ice Creams Stall Ketosis?

Some sugar free ice creams with higher carbs or maltitol can potentially stall or disrupt ketosis for people following a keto diet. However, many super low carb options made with keto-friendly sweeteners are less likely to impact ketosis:

– Rebel Creamery Keto: 1-4g net carbs is unlikely to disturb ketosis.

– Enlightened Keto: 3-8g net carbs has minimal impact.

– Halo Top Keto: 5g net carbs per serving is generally ketogenic.

Consuming large amounts may still momentarily pause ketosis. But one serving of ultra low carb sugar free ice cream a few times per week is less likely to knock most people out of ketosis. Enjoying an occasional treat generally fits into a well-formulated keto diet when carbs are controlled.

What Are the Best Sugar Free Ice Creams for Keto?

The top sugar free keto ice creams include:

Rebel Creamery

With only 1-4g net carbs from ultra low carb sweeteners monk fruit and erythritol, Rebel Creamery Keto ice creams are the #1 best for keto diets. Focused on minimal carbs, high fat. Great flavors and super creamy.

Enlightened Keto Collection

Enlightened uses monk fruit and erythritol to keep net carbs between 3-8g per serving. Their keto ice cream offers richer high fat options. Popular flavors like Cookie Dough Keto are excellent.

Halo Top Keto Series

Halo Top recently launched a keto line using stevia and erythritol for 5g net carbs per serving. Their Keto Chocolate hits the spot for chocolate lovers.

Nick’s Keto

Nick’s has a keto line sweetened with stevia. Each serving has 3-5g net carbs. Their Snickerdoodle Dandy and Salted Caramel flavors satisfy sweet cravings.

Tracking total and net carbs to stay under 25-50g daily is recommended on keto. One serving of the lowest carb sugar free ice cream options can fit into this limit.

What About Calories in Sugar Free Ice Cream?

While sugar free ice cream is lower in carbs, one downside is that it can still be high in calories:

– Halo Top: 60-100 calories per serving

– Breyers CarbSmart: 140 calories

– Hood Low Carb: 140 calories

– Rebel Creamery Keto: 220-320 calories

– Enlightened Keto: 290-400 calories

Calories still matter on low carb and keto diets. Consuming large amounts of even sugar free ice cream can prevent weight loss if overeating calories.

When enjoyed in moderation, many sugar free ice creams can be an occasional treat within calorie goals for weight management. Some brands like Halo Top are lower calorie to better fit into diet plans.

Are There Any Side Effects to Sugar Free Ice Cream?

Some potential side effects of sugar free ice cream to keep in mind include:

– Digestive issues: Sugar alcohols can cause bloating, gas, cramping in sensitive people.

– Allergies: Ingredients like nuts and dairy can cause allergic reactions in those with food allergies.

– Blood sugar spikes: Maltitol can spike blood sugar in diabetes. Glycemic response varies.

– Taste: Some people dislike the taste of artificial sweeteners.

– Too many calories: Eating large amounts may cause weight gain.

– Cravings: Sugar free ice cream may increase cravings for sweets.

Consuming sugar free ice cream in moderation and selecting well-tolerated brands can help minimize adverse effects. Checking the ingredients label and nutrition facts is important.


Is sugar free ice cream Keto approved?

Some sugar free ice creams are keto approved if they use low carb sweeteners like erythritol or stevia. To be keto-friendly, sugar free ice cream should have under 5g net carbs per serving.

Whatsweeteners are in sugar free ice cream?

Common sweeteners in sugar free ice cream include maltitol, erythritol, stevia, sucralose, aspartame, monk fruit, and sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol.

Is sugar free ice cream healthier?

Sugar free ice cream may be slightly lower in calories and carbs than regular ice cream. But it is still high in fat and low in protein, vitamins and minerals. It should not be viewed as a healthy food but rather an occasional treat.

Does Walmart sell sugar free ice cream?

Yes, Walmart sells some sugar free and lower carb ice cream options including Halo Top, Breyers CarbSmart, Edy’s Slow Churned Light and Fit, and Great Value Carb Countdown.

What is the best sugar free Neapolitan ice cream?

Some top rated sugar free Neapolitan ice creams include Halo Top, Breyers CarbSmart, Wells Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom, and Clemmy’s. Most combine chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors.

The Bottom Line

Sugar free ice creams can be lower in carbs but are not zero carbs. The amount of net carbs per serving ranges quite a bit based on the specific brand, ingredients and sweeteners used. For keto diets, the very lowest carb options have only 1-5g net carbs per serving. Enjoying sugar free ice cream occasionally can fit into a healthy low carb or keto diet when consumed in moderation and balanced with nutrient-dense foods. Sticking with small portions and limiting intake to occasional treats is best for health and weight management.

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