Keto ice cream shares a few similarities with non-keto ice cream. It’s creamy and thick. It’s delicious. (And, okay, it’s popular.)
But that’s sort of where the similarities end. Keto ice cream tends to be low in carbohydrates (and one of those carbohydrates being sugar), which is often the complete opposite end of the nutritional spectrum compared to real ice cream. That’s largely because some of the sugars in real ice cream come from lactose, a naturally occurring sugar in milk, which is different than added sugar.
So how is it, exactly, that keto ice cream companies can make rich and tasty desserts while also keeping carbs — the enemy of ketosis — low?
It’s all about the sugar.
“Instead of sweetening these ice creams with sugar like traditional ice cream, keto ice cream brands use zero / low-calorie sweeteners like stevia, monkfruit, and / or sugar alcohols (ie erythritol),” says Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN. These alternative sweeteners do not typically spike your blood sugar, which would then kick you out of ketosis. And that’s a godsend if you’re on the keto diet.
This said, not all keto ice creams are created equal. In general, you want to look for a product that has fewer than 10 grams of net carbs per serving, but with a goal of closer to 5 grams, Martin says. That’s to keep you in ketosis so you can continue to burn fat on the diet.
And read the ingredient list.
“Be sure to pay attention to the fiber source and sweetener used in the ice cream if you have a history of digestive issues with fibers and sweeteners” “she says. “Some fibers, like chicory root, and sugar alcohols, like xylitol, aren’t well-tolerated by many individuals, and can cause digestive upset like gas and bloating,” she explains.
The keto-approved ice creams — from brands like Halo Top to Enlightened to Nick’s — that follow deliver on nutritiousness, but also on deliciousness.
Now all you need is a spoon.
Rebel Ice Cream
Their pint flavors range from 4 to 8 grams net carbs, making them an excellent keto option, but the Mint Chip in particular has 150 calories, 4 g net carbs, 0 g sugar, and a delicious flavor.
“The Enlightened keto collection of ice creams is the lowest in net carbs on the market, with each flavor providing only 1 gram of net carb,” she says. They come in a variety of delicious and creative flavors. The Chocolate Glazed Donut has 180 calories, 1 g net carbs, and less than 1 g sugar.
Halo Top contains 5 to 10 grams of net carbs per pint and is higher in protein compared to the other keto ice creams on the market, says Martin. “Their ice creams contain around three times the amount of protein per serving than other brands,” she says. Try Caramel Butter Pecan, which has 150 calories, 5 g net carbs, 1 g sugar and a whopping 19 grams of protein per serving.
Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream Bars
“These are one-of-a-kind and the only keto ice cream bars on the market, for now. They come in three delicious flavors and have just 2 grams of net carbs per serving, ”says Martin. Each bar features a dark chocolate coating with a creamy ice cream center. The Sea Salt Caramel has 160 calories, 2 g net carbs, and 1 g sugar per bar.
This brand makes keto-friendly ice cream that’s very low in net carbs (only 2 to 3 grams net carbs per serving) and it includes MCT oil, which is a popular fat source for those on the keto diet, says Martin. Brownie Points offers 160 calories, 3g net carbs, and zero sugar a serving.
“Artic Zero is not technically considered a keto ice cream, however it’s not carb amounts are low enough to make it keto friendly,” she says. Unlike the other ice creams on this list, this ice cream does not have any fat and uses some cane sugar to sweeten it, in addition to monkfruit, so just be wary of that.
“Since this ice cream has no fat and is very low in calories (per serving), you may want to top it with some fat, like peanut butter or homemade coconut milk whipped cream,” she says. It just has 40 calories, 5g net carbs, and 5g sugar a serving.
“Unlike most other keto-friendly ice creams, these chocolate coated ice cream bars are made from a coconut milk base, which makes them dairy free,” she says. The bars have 110 calories, 7 g net carbs, and less than 1g sugar a serving.
This stuff is made with skim milk and actual chunks of brownies. It has 6 grams of net carbohydrates and a whopping 5 grams of fiber. Tastes like heaven too.
This California-based company has found a foothold in the ice cream world since 2015, when they were inspired to combine housemade ice cream with craft beer. Their line of Keto Incognito ice creams do not contain any beer, but they do contain vats full flavor, from mint chip to coffee flavors.
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