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5 Low-Carb Ice Cream Alternatives to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth


There are few foods that have their own section in the grocery store, but ice cream is so popular that it claims half an aisle. After all, what’s better than a sweet, creamy, cold bowl of your all-time favorite flavor?

If you’re an ice cream lover, you might be reluctant to start a low-carb or keto diet. Removing ice cream from your diet can seem intimidating, if not impossible.

But there are a variety of low-carb ice cream alternatives that can satiate your sweet tooth while helping you stay in ketosis and reach your goals.

Why Isn’t Ice Cream Low-Carb or Keto-Friendly?

Ice cream is best known as a sweet, frozen food made from dairy products. The main ingredients in classic ice cream (or custard) are milk, granulated sugar, and cream. Other flavors are often added to these ingredients, creating the vast variety you see in the grocery store.

The calories and macronutrients will vary depending on the type and flavor of ice cream. One serving of vanilla ice cream has about 137 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, and 16 grams of net carbs while a serving of Moose Tracks ice cream (containing peanut butter cups and chocolate chips) comes to a total of 210 calories, including 13 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 20 grams of net carbs.

Ice cream is not considered keto-friendly because of added sugars. These sugars raise your blood glucose levels, lower the levels of ketones in your blood, and prevent your body from burning fat stores.

Searching for a Keto-Friendly Ice Cream Brand: Dos and Don’ts

Perfect Keto has many low-carb ice cream recipes you can make at home. But for the times when you don’t want to go through the extra work, a store-bought brand might suffice — check out this article for the best keto ice cream brands Perfect Keto recommends. However, many labels are nothing more than clever marketing ploys, so try to keep these things in mind:

Don’t Always Believe the Food Label

Ice creams labeled as “low-carb,” “keto-friendly,” or “perfect for a low-carb lifestyle” are misleading at best. These are not regulated terms, so do your part to read the nutrition label. Ensure there are no extra fillers, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or dyes.

Do Look for Keto-Friendly Sweeteners 

Ice cream flavors sweetened with monk fruit, stevia, or Swerve (and nothing else) are safe to consume on the keto diet. Always choose brands that use these products instead of artificial sweeteners. So Delicious offers a no-sugar added butter pecan flavor sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol (plus, it’s gluten-free and dairy-free).

Don’t Assume that “Dairy-Free” Means “Keto-Friendly” 

Remember, dairy isn’t the reason you avoid ice cream in a low-carb lifestyle — sugar is. Many products with almond milk, coconut milk, or coconut cream listed as the primary ingredient are packed with sugar. If you look at the nutrition facts of Ben and Jerry’s dairy-free chunky monkey flavor, you’ll see it’s made with almond milk yet packs a horrifying 31 grams of carbs and 26 grams of sugar in a half-cup serving size.

Do Be On the Look-Out for Sugar Alcohols 

Sugar alcohols don’t impact blood sugar levels, so they’re usually marketed toward people following low-carb diets, or those diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, sugar alcohols can cause digestive distress in some people. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol used in many brands including So Delicious and Halo Top, and is generally recognized as safe by the USDA[*]. However, there have been growing complaints over digestive discomfort with other sugar alcohols including xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol.

Don’t Aim for Low-Fat or Fat-Free Varieties

If you opt for a dairy ice cream flavor, it’s best to look for one made from egg yolks, full-fat cream, milk, vanilla beans or other spices, and keto-friendly sweeteners. Try to avoid low-fat products at all costs, as the healthy fats are usually replaced with carbs or sugar.

5 Low-Carb Ice Cream Alternatives

While most ice cream flavors provide a suitable dose of fat for a ketogenic diet, they’re also high in carbs because of the sugar content. Most commercial brands also lack dietary fiber, making the treat a poor nutritional choice.

Fortunately, there are many homemade ice cream recipes that let you indulge in your favorite dessert while keeping your carb count low — there are even some dairy-free options.

While dairy can be included in a keto diet, it also poses some potential downsides, so you may want to limit your intake or stick to the dairy-free choices on this list.

#1: Low-Carb Death by Chocolate Ice Cream

Low Carb Ice Cream Options: Death by Chocolate

Image: Low Carb Death By Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate is a classic ice cream flavor and now you can enjoy this low-carb take on a favorite.

Death by Low-Carb Chocolate has a keto-approved ingredient list, and contrary to the name, it won’t kill you. All you need to make this decadent keto treat is heavy cream, non-dairy milk, cocoa powder, low-carb sweetener, eggs, unsweetened chocolate, and vanilla extract. Chances are you already have all the ingredients on hand.

Find the full recipe here.

#2: Low-Carb Mint Chocolate Chip Ice CreamLow-Carb Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip

Image: Low Carb Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Missing mint ice cream on the keto diet? This unique recipe is your ticket to a delectably low-carb, sugar-free version.

Because it calls for heavy whipping cream as its base, it will taste nearly indistinguishable from other sugar-filled versions. Just remember to look for grass-fed (or at least organic) dairy when possible.

In addition to heavy whipping cream, you’ll need low-carb sweetener, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, non-dairy milk, and sugar-free dark chocolate.

Find the full recipe here.

#3: No-Churn Keto Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Low Carb Ice Cream: Cookies and Cream

Image: No-Churn Keto Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Don’t have an ice cream maker on hand? No worries. This low-carb dessert doesn’t need one. While this recipe does require a bit more effort to make it keto, it’s worth it.

Since you won’t be using an ice cream maker, you’ll have to create your own condensed milk with coconut milk and your keto-friendly sweetener like stevia or monk fruit to ensure the texture is light and airy.

The “cookie” part of this recipe includes almond flour, cacao powder, sugar substitute, egg, and coconut oil. But the ice cream itself is simply a mix of coconut milk with heavy whipping cream.

While you have to prepare these components separately, the end result is a delicious, creamy treat with ingredients that are packed with healthy, low-carb fats.

Find the full recipe here.

#4: Keto Vanilla Ice Cream

Low-Carb Ice Cream: Keto Vanilla

Image: Keto Vanilla Ice Cream

The perfect accompaniment to any dessert is classic vanilla ice cream. And like the cookies and cream recipe, this Keto Vanilla Ice Cream doesn’t require churning with an ice cream maker.

One thing most low-carb or sugar-free ice cream recipes have in common is heavy whipping cream. If you incorporate dairy into your diet, whipping cream provides a great base for the perfect ice cream consistency and offers nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium[*].

Find the full recipe here.

#5: Keto Superfood Nice Cream

Low Carb Ice Cream: Nice Cream

You might say this ice cream has superpowers. And you might be right. The simple ingredient list is packed with nutrition, flavor, and a very special secret ingredient: Cauliflower. It might sound strange, but its inclusion in this easy-to-make chocolate ice cream makes it a guilt-free dessert.

Cauliflower is bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, has anti-inflammatory effects and improves your brain and heart health[*][*]. Paired with coconut milk, cocoa powder, stevia (or monk fruit), and a pinch of black pepper and pink salt, you can be savoring this “nice” cream in about 10 minutes.

Find the full recipe here.

4 Keto Ice Cream Toppings to Complete Your Favorite Dessert 

Many people think adopting a keto diet means you have to completely miss out on your favorite sweets. But these low-carb ice cream alternatives prove that doesn’t have to be the case.

Of course, no ice cream treat would be complete without your favorite toppings. Use these high-fat, low-sugar ice cream toppings and mix-ins to complete your dessert:

Yes, You Can Still Enjoy Ice Cream on the Keto Diet

As you’ve come to find out, you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods on the keto diet — it might just take a few tweaks.

Remember, when it comes to low-carb ice cream, choose one with a keto-friendly sweetener like monk fruit, stevia, or Swerve. If you buy a store-bought brand, opt for those with no sugar alcohols. Be sure to read the ingredients label and nutrition facts carefully, and don’t be fooled by clever marketing ploys.

Perfect Keto has a number of homemade ice cream recipes to enjoy. Or, you can make yourself a sundae and top your low-carb ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate fudge. Now, the only question is — which recipe will you make first?


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