It was only a few years ago that a good tasting keto ice cream at the grocery store was something you could only dream about.

Sure, there have always been plenty of low-carb ice cream recipes on the Internet.

But what about keto ice cream flavors like chocolate ice cream, cookie dough, and cookies and cream that you can enjoy without pulling out your ice cream maker?

Luckily, high-fat, low-carb options are becoming more prevalent in the frozen aisle of most grocery stores.

But not all keto ice cream brands use clean ingredients or keep your blood sugar stable.

So besides learning the top choices for your goals, you’ll also discover which ingredients make other brands better than others.

And that’s exactly where this free ice cream guide begins.

3 Ingredients to Avoid in Keto Ice Creams

Certain ingredients in packaged low-carb foods can cause more damage than they’re worth. High levels of sugar alcohols, certain gums, and other fillers and binders can cause gut issues or sap your energy.

Here are the most common ingredients you’ll need to watch out for in keto ice cream:

#1: Artificial Sweeteners

When manufacturers go sugar-free, they often load up their products with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, sorbitol, xylitol, and many others.

But these products aren’t safe or better for you just because they’re free of sugar.

A solid consensus on artificial sweeteners is still out. But many studies link them to diseases like cancer, type-2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders[*].

There’s also evidence that these sweeteners can shift the makeup of your gut bacteria, which could cause unwanted weight gain and other gut issues[*].

So if you see any of these fake sweeteners on your ice cream label, leave it on the shelf.

Try looking for low-carb ice creams sweetened with monk fruit, stevia, or erythritol (commonly sold as Swerve).

The other important note to consider whenever it comes to ice cream is the quality of the milk or cream.

#2: Added Hormones in Milk or Cream

Just like you would avoid hormones in cheese and milk, your ice cream should be no different.

Any growth hormones or antibiotics given to dairy cows will be passed to you when you consume their milk.

These hormones can interact with and disrupt your body’s own hormones, which may lead to a slew of health issues[*].

Ditch any keto ice creams that don’t specifically boast being hormone- and antibiotic-free.

Same goes for those using the next group of ingredients.

#3: Preservatives and Other Additives

Manufacturers use organic and inorganic preservatives to enhance the flavor of foods, improve their texture, and keep them shelf-stable longer.

But the problem with many of these chemicals is that we don’t really know how they affect human health long-term.

One popular preservative used in ice cream is maltodextrin, a highly-processed powder usually made from corn.

Maltodextrin is high on the glycemic index and will definitely spike your blood sugar. It can also alter your gut bacteria in a way that makes you more susceptible to disease[*].

Additives like artificial colors may have carcinogenic and neurotoxic effects in certain populations.

And high omega-6 vegetable oils like soy, peanut, and sunflower oils can cause inflammation in high amounts[*].

So avoid low-carb ice creams with:

  • Preservatives such as sodium phosphate, potassium sorbate, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, and sodium nitrite.
  • Food colorings such as artificial red, yellow, and blue dyes.
  • Low-quality vegetable oils such as soybean, peanut, and sunflower.

Thanks to the rise in popularity of the keto diet, big food manufacturers are starting to hop on the “low-carb” train.

But many of these so-called keto ice cream options contain questionable ingredients that are likely to kick you out of ketosis.

That’s why you’ll need to look past the marketing jargon on the label whether you’re eating ice cream or any other packaged foods on keto.

Don’t Let the Label Fool You

Again, just because something says “only XX net carbs” or “keto-friendly” doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your healthy keto lifestyle.

These products may actually spike your blood sugar levels and kick you out of ketosis despite the low-carb macros.

Case in point: this Breyers Carb Smart ice cream[*][*].

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 3.21.35 PM.png

At first glance, this seems like a keto-friendly ice cream choice.

The label on the Carb Smart line from Breyers mentions that it’s “part of a low-carb lifestyle” because it only has 3g of sugar per serving.

While the fiber and sugar alcohols keep it low in net carbs, the ingredients are anything but good for you.

Flipping the container over reveals the true picture:

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 3.32.23 PM.png

There are at least 11 questionable ingredients and four artificial sweeteners, including sorbitol, polydextrose, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose, the common name for Splenda.

Splenda specifically has been shown to raise blood sugar and insulin levels, contribute to weight gain, and alter your gut microbes for the worst.

And despite the marketing claims about fitting into a low-carb lifestyle, you’ll find sugar lurking in the ingredients list.

On top of the sugar and sweeteners, there’s also carrageenan, a thickening agent that may cause gastrointestinal side effects.

So while this ice cream may technically fit a macronutrient profile that’s safe on a ketogenic diet, the ingredients can sap your energy or worse — offer some unpleasant gut symptoms.

Breyers isn’t the only brand doing this.

If you don’t have time to dig deeper and read labels, you may unknowingly reach for the wrong ice cream. And that will make it much harder to meet your health and weight loss goals.

Next up you’ll find a hand-selected list of healthier low-carb keto ice creams you can enjoy whenever the craving strikes.

The Top 6 Keto-Friendly Ice Cream Brands

These six low-carb ice cream choices add flexibility to your ketogenic diet without the sugar crash of most desserts.

They also prove you can have delicious ice cream on keto without busting out your ice cream maker.

As long as you enjoy them in moderation and factor them into your total carb intake for the day, you’ll be golden.

#1: Wink Frozen Desserts

Wink Frozen Desserts offers a line of 100-calorie plant-based pints low in both sugar and carbs.

Take their vanilla ice cream flavor, Vanilla Bean, as an example.

A half-cup serving clocks in at zero grams of sugar and just 1g of net carbs. If you don’t count the sugar alcohol, it’s actually 0g of carbs[*].

wink new.jpg

So if you ate the entire pint, you’d spend only 4g of net carbs. Not a bad dessert to add to your keto meal plan.

On top of their keto-friendly macros and clean ingredients, Wink pints are also gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and non-GMO certified. They’re free of egg and peanut too.

Instead, you’ll see an ingredient list with pronounceable items like:

  • Pea protein
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Organic stevia extract
  • Vanilla bean seeds

There are 12 different flavors of Wink Frozen Desserts — from cake batter and lemon cake to salted caramel and pumpkin spice latte.

You can have them shipped to your door or you can use their store locator to pick up some locally after reading this.

#2: Rebel Creamery

Unlike the first keto ice cream brand, Rebel Creamery starts out with a rich, full-fat base of cream and egg yolks.

This creates a velvety texture similar to the kind of ice cream you grew up with.

But rather than being loaded with sugar, Rebel Creamery packs their pints with healthy fats and sweeteners like erythritol.

Their high-fat ice cream contains 56-76g of fat per pint, which is hard to beat. Halo Top only has 8-14g of fat and Wink Frozen Desserts has even less at 2g.

Take a look at this nutrition label from the Peanut Butter Fudge flavor:

rebel new.jpg

 

A half-cup serving size is 200 calories, 19g of fat (10g of which are saturated fat), 3g of protein, and 2g of net carbs.

With these keto macros and healthy fats, you’ll be feeling satisfied instead of ravenous for more.

As for the other ingredients, here’s what you’ll find in this particular flavor:

  1. Cream
  2. Water
  3. Peanut butter
  4. Erythritol
  5. Fudge
  6. Chicory root fiber
  7. Egg yolks
  8. Milk protein isolate
  9. Monk fruit
  10. Vegetable glycerin
  11. Guar gum
  12. Peruvian carob gum

Rebel Creamery sources their cream from hormone-free cows. And their ingredients won’t raise your blood sugar.

Right now they offer eight flavors, which you can find locally using their store locator. They also deliver. Expect classics such as Butter Pecan, Cookie Dough, and Mint Chip.

This next ice cream brand is one of the most popular.

#3: Halo Top

Halo Top is the original low-carb ice cream, offering dozens of flavors for low-carb dieters — way before it became so trendy.

But take a look at the nutrition facts for their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor[*]:halo new.jpgYou’ll need to budget 7g of carbs for a half-cup serving size due to the sugar added[*].

This may eat up a large portion of your daily carbs — especially if you’re aiming to eat less than 10g of sugar per day.

Eat slightly more than your serving size, which is easy to do, and you could kick yourself out of ketosis.

You definitely can’t indulge in a whole pint here. That would mean 28g of sugar total.

Keep in mind, not all Halo Top flavors are this sweet.

For a list of the best and worst Halo Top flavors, check out this guide when you’re done here.

Despite the relatively high sugar content, there are many good sides to Halo Top.

First, their ingredients list is pretty decent.

The Birthday Cake flavor — the “best” choice on keto — contains[*]:

  • Skim milk
  • Eggs
  • Erythritol
  • Prebiotic fiber
  • Milk protein concentrate
  • Cream
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Beet juice
  • Annatto
  • Vegetable juice
  • Beta carotene
  • Natural flavor
  • Sea salt
  • Organic carob gum
  • Organic guar gum
  • Organic stevia leaf extract

Halo Top doesn’t use milk or cream from cows given synthetic growth hormones either.

And they also have dairy-free versions which use a coconut milk base. Aside from almond milk, coconut milk makes an excellent, rich swap if you’re avoiding dairy on keto.

Another positive mark is that Halo Top is widely available at most grocery stores. You can also order them online, including on Amazon.

Choose the right flavors and measure out your serving size before accidentally going overboard.

You’ll also find this next low-carb ice cream brand across many national supermarkets.

#4: Enlightened

Enlightened is another low-sugar, low-fat ice cream brand keto dieters use to satisfy cravings.

You can compare Enlightened to Halo Top since their macronutrient profile is very similar.

Their Movie Night flavor — a popcorn base with a chocolate and caramel swirl — has 2g more fiber and 1g more protein than Halo Top[*]:Enlightened new 2.jpg

The Enlightened story deviates from Halo Top when comparing the ingredients, however.

In this Movie Night flavor, you’ll see a few questionable ingredients like:

  • Cane sugar
  • Natural flavor
  • Caramel color
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Corn starch
  • Lecithin

These additives may raise your blood sugar levels. So if you’re going to eat Enlightened ice cream, you should do so in moderation.

Certain flavors may be helpful for satisfying cravings — such as Marshmallow Peanut Butter or French Toast — but you wouldn’t want to make this a daily habit.

The 24g of sugar in the Movie Night pint can certainly ruin ketosis for you and cause you to crave more sugar.

Similar to Halo Top, many grocery stores carry this option and you can ship it straight to your house.

The next brand often gets lumped in with Halo Top and Enlightened but it’s quite unique.

#5: Arctic Zero

Another brand in the high-protein, low-fat, and low-sugar ice cream explosion, Arctic Zero has its own standout features.

Notably, Arctic Zero doesn’t use sugar alcohols in their frozen dessert.

And their milk, cream, and whey protein are all rBST and hormone-free.

However, you will notice a slightly higher sugar and carb count than their competitors’ pints.

A serving of Arctic Zero’s Mint and Chocolate Cookies flavor will set you back[*]:

  • 2.5g of fat
  • 13g of carbs
  • 11g of sugar
  • 2g of protein

 

arctic new1.jpg

So while you can technically have this on keto, you must work your meal plans accordingly to fit it into your macros safely.

While you can opt for a different flavor, you won’t save yourself that much in the way of carbs. The Peanut Butter and Cookies pint has 1g less of sugar and carbs, for example.

Additionally, Arctic Zero pints have a lengthy ingredient list similar to Enlightened.

Here’s a peek at what’s inside the Mint flavor:

  • Skim milk
  • Cane sugar
  • Prebiotic fiber
  • Fudge mint cookies
  • Unbleached wheat flour
  • Dried cane syrup
  • Palm oil
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Dried cane invert syrup
  • Baking soda
  • Sea salt
  • Soy lecithin
  • Peppermint oil
  • Organic chocolate chunks
  • Cream
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Spirulina extract
  • Fruit juice or color
  • Acacia gum
  • Guar gum
  • Locust bean gum
  • Natural flavors

Again, not something you’ll want to indulge in every day.

If you do decide to try this one, you can find Arctic Zero at most grocery stores and online.

The final ice cream on this list of store-bought options is dairy-free.

#6: So Delicious No-Sugar-Added Line

For a dairy-free treat, So Delicious created a no-sugar-added line that’s safe to eat on a low-carb diet (and just as tasty).

The macros for their Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk bars come in at[*]:

  • 9g of fat (8g of which are saturated)
  • 7g of net carbs
  • Less than 1g of sugar
  • 1g of protein

so delicious.png

So this bar is higher in fat and has fewer carbs than Enlightened and Halo Top, making it slightly better for you on keto.

This line also includes other dairy-free and low-sugar flavors such as Butter Pecan and Chocolate.

As for the ingredients, the Vanilla Bean bar contains[*]:

  • Non-dairy frozen dessert base of organic coconut milk, water, and organic coconut cream
  • Chicory root extract
  • Acacia gum
  • Erythritol
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Pea protein
  • Guar gum
  • Sea salt
  • Locust bean gum
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Natural flavor
  • Chocolate coating
  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate liquor
  • Natural flavor
  • Stevia leaf extract

While the So Delicious brand is available at most grocery stores, finding the No Sugar Added line could pose a challenge.

If you have trouble sourcing it, consider ordering online and you’ll have a dairy- and gluten-free keto dessert whenever the craving hits.

Enjoy These Keto-Friendly Ice Creams Today

Wink Frozen Desserts and Rebel Creamery make the best store-bought keto ice creams.

These two brands should be your first choice since they’re more aligned with a ketogenic diet in both macronutrients and healthy ingredients.

The other four ice creams on this list can work as occasional stand-ins. Just make sure to find the lowest sugar flavors and stick to the serving size.

Another easy option is to make ice cream at home using the best keto recipes.

Homemade ice cream isn’t as hard as it looks — especially if you’re using a no-churn recipe. All you typically need is heavy cream or heavy whipping cream and keto-safe sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.

Making your ice cream at home lets you control all the ingredients. Plus, you can play around with different flavors and textures, from adding stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips for keto chocolate ice cream, or crushing up  Perfect Keto Bars.

So visit this guide next for a complete list of the best keto ice cream recipes you can make at home.

And don’t forget to try this recipe for keto whipped cream to top whichever ice cream you choose.

With all of these options, you don’t have to skip ice cream just because you’re following a keto diet.

As long as you savor them in moderation, you should have no trouble reaching your health and weight loss goals on keto.

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