There’s nothing better than an ice cold sweet dessert like ice cream on a warm summer day. But if you have kidney disease, you may have been told to avoid this frozen treat due to the potassium in ice cream.
Is there too much potassium in ice cream and you need to stay away from it?
Well, the short answer is that there IS room for ice cream even if you’re on a low potassium diet. But there are some things to consider when enjoying this tasty treat. Here’s the scoop!
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Dairy Products and Potassium
Dairy products are a source of potassium in the diet. Some people with kidney disease will need to follow a low potassium diet. This usually applies to people with kidney disease if they have had high potassium blood levels or on dialysis treatment.
The rule of thumb with dairy and chronic kidney disease is 1-2 servings a day of dairy.
But everyone is different! For example, if you have oxalate kidney stones, we recommend that you consume dairy or foods that contain calcium with all meals to help block the oxalate in foods.
How Much Potassium In Ice Cream
The amount of potassium in ice cream depends on various factors such as serving size, flavor, brand, ingredients, and type. Potassium isn’t required to be listed on the food label so it is tricky to know how much is in a certain food item.
Serving Size and Potassium In Ice Cream
The serving size is an important factor when it comes to how much potassium is in ice cream. A standard serving size found on the food label is 2/3 cup. The larger the serving size, the more potassium you will consume.
Flavor and Potassium In Ice Cream
The flavor can also determine how much potassium is in ice cream. For example, from the USDA Food Database, 1 ⁄ 2 cup of strawberry has 124 mg of potassium, vanilla has 130 mg, and chocolate has the most at 164 mg.
Other flavors that contain chocolate or nuts like butter pecan and pistachio will have a higher potassium content than some fruit flavored like cherry and strawberry.
Ingredients and Potassium In Ice Cream
Frozen treats made with more dairy products like milk and cream may have more potassium. Non-dairy ice cream may have lower potassium. Low-fat and nonfat ice cream tend to have more potassium because potassium is added as a stabilizer.
Best Low Potassium Ice Cream
If you’re needing to follow a low potassium diet, choose flavors like
- cake batter
- non-dairy ice cream
Check out the food label and look for <200 mg of potassium per serving
Best Low Potassium Toppings
If you’re making your own sundaes at home these are going to be your best low potassium toppings.
- Crushed waffle cone
- Whipped cream
- Gummy candies
Higher potassium toppings are:
- Peanut butter
- Chopped nuts
- Peanut butter cups
- Hot fudge
- Chocolate sauce
- Brownie bites
Other Factors to Consider
A low potassium diet is no more than 2,000 mg per day. However, there are several other things to consider when you have kidney disease such as fluid, phosphorus and phosphorus additives, saturated fat, and added sugars.
If you’re on dialysis or need to limit how much fluid you take in, ice cream will be counted as part of your fluid intake. If you consume ½ cup, then it will be counted as a ½ cup or 4 ounces of fluid.
Dairy products also contain phosphorus. If you need to be on a low phosphorus diet, ice cream should be consumed in moderation or taken with phosphorus binders. It will also be important to read the food labels to make sure there is no added phosphorus in the frozen treat you want to enjoy.
Added phosphorus impacts phosphorus blood levels more than naturally occurring phosphorus.
Sugar and Fat
Ice cream is higher in added sugar and saturated fat. If you have diabetes, sweet treats like ice cream can increase your blood sugars. High blood sugars can increase your risk of developing kidney disease.
Overconsumption of saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease. Desserts provide high caloires without much nutrients so they should be enjoyed in moderation.
Other Low Potassium Desserts
- Popsicles, 8mg
- Italian ice, 7 mg per serving
- Sherbet, 71 mg per ½ serving
- Frozen grapes, 90 mg ½ cup serving
- Frozen Fruit bars such as Outshine, 55 mg per serving
- Wyman’s Just Fruit Frozen Fruit Bites, 80 mg per serving
- Frozen Non-Dairy Desserts like Arctic Zero, 10 mg per serving
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