As the temperature rises and summer approaches, many of us are turning to cool, refreshing treats to beat the heat. For people with diabetes, however, the decision to indulge in something sweet, like sherbet, can be a tricky one. With so many factors to consider, from blood sugar control to overall nutrition and portion sizes, it can be difficult to know whether a dessert like sherbet is a safe choice.
As a general rule, people with diabetes can eat sherbet in moderation as part of a balanced diet. A single serving of sherbet is 1/2 cup or 4 fluid ounces, which contains about 15-20 grams of carbohydrates and 100-150 calories, depending on the specific type and brand of sherbet.
It’s important to read nutrition labels carefully and measure out your portion sizes to ensure that you are consuming an appropriate amount. To help you out, I have detailed the nutrition makeup and have sourced the 3 best sherbet options for diabetics.
Nutrition Make Up of Sherbet
With its high sugar and carbohydrate content, there’s no denying sherbet isn’t exactly topping the charts for healthiest food, but this is also the reason why we enjoy it as a sweet treat on occasion.
While nutrition content varies depending on the brand, let’s take a look at the typical nutrition breakdown of sherbet:
- Total Fat 1.5g
- Saturated Fat 0.9g
- Cholesterol 0.7mg
- Sodium 34mg
- Potassium 71mg
- Total Carbohydrates 22g
- Dietary Fiber 1g
- Sugars 18g
Portion Size of Sherbet
According to the USDA, as well as the American Diabetes Association, one serving of sherbet is one-half cup or four fluid ounces. This means that a half-gallon carton of sherbet contains 16 servings.
Typically, one serving of sherbet contains 19-26 grams of carbohydrates. If you are using the carb-counting meal plan, you will recall that 15 grams of carbohydrates is equivalent to one carbohydrate choice.
Although the usual serving size of sherbet is a one-half cup, your carb intake may be a little higher. If you are using the carb counting meal plan, your sherbet may equate to 1 ½ or 2 carb choices.
Lastly, if you’re taking insulin, you will want to adjust your dose based on your carb intake. If you’re unsure how to do that, talk with your healthcare provider for clarification.
Sherbet Nutrition Labels
With most snack foods you find in the grocery store, there is an overwhelming amount of marketing information on the label designed to attract the consumer. As a person with diabetes, you may be pulled towards products labeled as “reduced sugar,” “fat-free,” or “low calorie.” Although these claims may be true, it is important to take a step of precaution and read the product’s label for these things:
Sugar Content of Sherbert
Although the product may be labeled “low sugar,” the actual sugar content may still be much higher than the daily recommended amount per serving of 36 grams. The smartest sherbet option for people with diabetes are brands with the lowest sugar content per serving without relying on artificial sweeteners.
Fat Content Sherbet
Fat has a direct impact on the speed at which the body is able to absorb sugar. Foods with higher amounts of fat (and protein) generally support slower sugar absorption rates of sugar, helping to control blood sugar spikes.
Keep in mind, you may have higher blood glucose results hours after your high fat food vs. immediately after consumption.
Dietitian Tips For Including Sherbet In A Diabetic Diet Plan
As mentioned above, there are many ways to approach your sherbet sweet tooth, whether that is indulging in your favorite brand, avoiding it altogether, or choosing a sugar-free alternative. But if you are set on having your sherbet and eating it too, here are some suggestions to satisfy your craving without the threat of dealing with high blood sugar spikes later on:
- ALWAYS check the Nutrition Facts Label for the serving size. Although it is generally a ½ cup per serving, some brands consider ⅔ cup a serving.
- Measure your portion into a bowl instead of eating it out of a container.
- Purchase sherbets in pre-portioned cups to take the guesswork out of portion control.
- Remember to count carbs. Swap out a carbohydrate-rich food during your meal or snack time for a serving of sherbet.
- Check your blood sugars with your meter one to two hours after eating your sherbet to monitor its effects on your glucose levels.
- Do some form of physical activity after eating sherbet, like taking a walk outside, to help prevent major spikes in your glucose levels.
What Is The Best Sherbet For Diabetics?
Two factors that make for the “best” sherbet for people with diabetes;
1) One you will enjoy the most
2) Pick one that will not cause severe blood sugar spikes. But in truth, there is no right or wrong answer to which sherbet is “the best” for diabetes.
For some people, it may mean having a smaller portion size of their favorite sherbet, even if it has higher sugar and carbohydrate content. For others, it may be choosing a sherbet brand with less sugar and carbohydrates for a larger portion.
If you fall into the latter category, below are three types of sherbet on the market with the lowest amounts of sugar and carbohydrates:
Top Three Sherbet Picks For Diabetics
In regards to nutrition label reading for diabetics, we will look at three major nutrients – calories, carbohydrates, and sugars.
Calories 80, Carbs 19g, Sugars 15g per each 4 fl oz cup.
Calories 90, Carbs 20g, Sugars 16g per each 4 fl oz cup
Calories 110, Carbs 26g, Sugars 17g per ½ cup serving size.
Still, others may prefer dodging the sugar and carbohydrate counting completely and choose a frozen dessert alternative that will help keep blood sugar levels on an even keel:
Sherbet Vs Sorbet: Are They The Same?
While sherbet and sorbet may sound similar and even look alike, they are actually two different frozen desserts.
Sherbet is a frozen dessert that is made with fruit juice, sugar, and sometimes dairy products like milk or cream. It usually has a softer texture than ice cream and contains between 1-2% milkfat. Sherbet often contains more sugar than sorbet and is lower in fat than ice cream.
On the other hand, sorbet is made with fruit juice, sugar, and water, and does not contain any dairy products. Sorbet has a harder, icier texture than sherbet and usually has a more intense fruit flavor. Sorbet can be a good option for those who are lactose intolerant or avoiding dairy products.
So, while both sherbet and sorbet are frozen desserts that are often made with fruit juice and sugar, they differ in their ingredients and texture.
If you’re looking for a dessert that is lower in fat and contains a small amount of dairy, sherbet may be the way to go. If you prefer a dessert that is completely dairy-free and has a more intense fruit flavor, sorbet may be a better option.
Take note that one serving of sorbet, as listed on a nutrition label, is one cup. If you are dealing with diabetes, one serving is 1/2 cup. A one half portion of the sorbet contains 110 calories, 27 g carbohydrate, and 26 g sugar.
Sherbet Vs Ice Cream For Diabetics
When debating over what is the healthiest frozen dessert to eat as a person with diabetes, some may assume sherbet is the better alternative because of its lower fat content. However, both options have several pros and cons to take into consideration.
Sherbet is rich in vitamin C, with many brands delivering 100% of the recommended daily value in one serving. While ice cream does not typically contain vitamin C, it is richer in vitamins A and B2, calcium, zinc, potassium, and protein.
On the flip side, ice cream contains high amounts of cholesterol and fats. While sherbet is lower in fat content, and often fat-free, its sugar content is higher in comparison to ice cream.
Both options are considered a carbohydrate-rich food, high in calories, and can cause blood sugar spikes.
Alternatives To Sherbet
- Sugar-free popsicles: Generally less than 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate or less.
- Sugar-free frozen yogurt: One-half cup contains about 80 calories and 16 grams of carbohydrate.
- Sugar-free fudge bars: One bar contains approximately 40 calories and 9 grams of carbohydrate.
But no matter which dessert route you choose, keep in mind all desserts can be part of a healthy and balanced diabetic meal plan when eaten in moderation!
While taking thoughtful consideration into your brands and portion sizes you choose to consume, it is possible to healthily make sherbet part of a balanced diabetic plan. If you have questions or concerns about doing so, it is recommended to reach out to your healthcare provider or Registered Dietitian that is specifically certified as a Diabetes Care and Education specialist.
Thanks for stopping by my Dealing With Diabetes blog! My name is LeeAnna.