In my world, there is NO DEBATE between ice cream and sherbet. Ice cream wins EVERY time. To me sherbet is like cottage cheese, rarely necessary in life.

However, after having yet another challenging patient last week, it appears when it comes to diabetes, sherbet may be a favorite.

Here’s a peak into my conversation had with newly diagnosed patient. Mind you I was still treading quite lightly from my encounters with a different patient that landed me kicked out of his room earlier in the week. If you missed that post, check it out here.

Me: (after the proper salutations) I hear you’ve been newly diagnosed with diabetes, would you like to learn how to take control over it with what you eat?

Patient: NO! I don’t want to change how I eat but I guess I have to. I probably won’t be able to afford it anyway so I’ll just control it by starving.

Me: You’d be surprised how simple changes in your diet and portions can positively effect your sugar. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods.

Pt: Yes I do.

Enters Hospitality Associate to take Patients order.

HA: What would you like for lunch? Give’s choices..

Patient then asks me what she should have. With every carbohydrate option offered ie. mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, carrots (actually not a starchy vegetable but people think they are), the patient would respond: Nope! Can’t have it! It has sugar!

HA: Would you like some sherbet?

Pt: Yes. That sounds good.

You can only imagine my thought bubbles whirling around in my head. No to Vitamin C and fiber, but yes to straight up simple sugar.

Years ago when I was a nursing home dietitian, I vaguely remember now all our patients with diabetes or who had lactose intolerance issues getting sherbet at special functions instead of ice cream.

I brought this up with a friend today regarding sherbet and she too could remember sherbet being the seemingly innocent sweet frozen treat where she had been a nurse.

A quick Google search on Edy’s rainbow sherbet has a ingredient list that starts with: skim milk, sugar, corn syrup, pineapple juice from concentrate, cream, orange juice from concentrate, citric acid, lime juice from concentrate and then several other random ingredients.

There is definite evidence that sherbet is both inappropriate for lactose intolerant individuals as well as people with diabetes or insulin resistance. For 1/2 cup serving there is 130 calories, 1g fat, 29g total carbs, 22g of sugar and 1g protein.

For an easy comparison, Edy’s Vanilla Bean contains: skim milk, cream, sugar, whey, tapioca starch, pectin, natural flavors and guar gum. For a 1/2 cup, that’ll send you back 140 calories, 7g fat, 15g carbs, 14g sugar and 2g protein. If you went their Slow Churned Variety, same size and flavor you’d save yourself some calories and fat at 100 calories and 3g fat per serving.

And just for fun, Edy’s Slow Churned No Added Sugar not only has a laundry list of ingredients filled with Splenda and sugar alcohols that “Sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect” but still has 100 calories and 14g of carbs per serving, although only 3g sugar, 4g of sugar alcohols… again that laxative effect.Fun!

Needless to say if you are controlling your diabetes via carb counting, real ice cream wins in my book! Less sugar and more fat to slow down the absorption of sugar. And let’s be real, fat makes us feel full. And it tastes good. Whenever I’ve had “fake” ice cream I swear not only do I feel like I could eat the whole thing but afterward I feel unsatisfied and seek out the real deal anyway.

I can only guess sherbet gained it’s glory during the “Snackwell” phase where every one and every thing was all about low fat. Thankfully many of us are beyond that. We also know that sugar also plays a big role in cardiovascular (anti) health. But that’s a topic for another day.

Did I convince my patient to try any other carbohydrates that day? No. Did I try? No. Did I listen to her tell me about her Aunt who had poorly controlled diabetes, who didn’t eat potatoes or bread (but sherbet and chocolate), who never sought out formal diet education? Yes I did. We also talked about her kids at home who were first and foremost in her world, her walking goals and her love of bike riding. We talked about how to tweak her current breakfast and where to add a snack vs skipping a meal all together. Sweet simple changes.

Was it a great session? No.

Was it challenging and exhausting? Yes.

But I didn’t get kicked out. And I had a light bulb, sherbet moment to share.

Now it’s time for you to fess up: Ice cream or Sherbet? What’s your preference?

As always thanks for reading. Don’t forget to sign up for weekly posts or check me out on my facebook page.



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