Does Sherbet Have Less Sugar Than Ice Cream?

Sherbet is often perceived as a healthier alternative to ice cream. However, is that really the case when it comes to sugar content?

Below you’ll find the sugar content of various brands and flavors of sherbet and ice cream.

Before you read the data, be aware that ice cream and sherbet both have natural sugar. The natural sugar, known as lactose, comes from the dairy used in these products. However, most sugar is added to these desserts during manufacturing.

Generally, sherbet has more sugar than ice cream. For example, the average sugar for the sherbet products we reviewed was about 25 grams whereas the ice cream was approximately 16 grams per 2/3 cup serving.

However, product choice greatly matters. There are certainly ice cream products with more sugar than some sherbet products. We encourage you to read the labels at the store for specific sugar content information.

Sherbet Sugar Content

Serving Size: 2/3 Cup

Sherbet ProductTotal Sugars (g)Added Sugars (26g)
Baskin Robbins – Rainbow Sherbet 28g26g
Edy’s – Orange Cream Sherbet24g19g
Favorite Day – Rainbow Sherbet27g25g
Great Value – Orange Sherbet28g26g
Kemps – Rainbow Sherbet28g25g
Kroger – Rainbow Sherbet28g26g
Mayfield – Pineapple Sherbet24g19g
Perry’s – Northern Lights Sherbet35g32g
Prairie Farms – Rainbow Sherbet27g26g
Private Selection – Mango Lemonade
With White Chocolatey Flakes Sherbet
Publix – Peach Mango Passion Sherbet21g18g
Purple Cow – Lime Sherbet28g26g
Turkey Hill – Fruit Rainbow Sherbet25g23g

Ice Cream Sugar Content

Serving Size: 2/3 Cup

Ice Cream ProductTotal Sugars (g)Added Sugars (26g)
Baskin Robbins – Baseball Nut Ice Cream (grocery store variety)22g17g
Blue Bunny – Bunny Tracks23g18g
Blue Ribbon -Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough20g16g
Breyers – Butter Pecan14g10g
Edy’s – Coffee Ice Cream17g12g
Great Value – Chocolate21g18g
Great Value – Vanilla18g13g
Haagen Dazs –Strawberry 20g18g
Hudsonville – Double Chocolate Almond17g13g
Kemps – Simply Crafted Mint Chocolate Chip23g18g
Perry’s – Banana Graham24g19g
Mayfield – Sea Salt Caramel Cheesecake22g18g
Nestle Toll House – Cookie Dough Ice Cream21g17g
Snickers Ice Cream26g18g
Straus Family Creamery – Cookies & Cream25g21g
Turkey Hill – Black Raspberry19g14g

Why Is There Sugar In Sherbet & Ice Cream?

Sherbet and ice cream have a significant amount of sugar for several reasons:

  1. Flavor and Sweetness: Sugar is a natural sweetener that enhances the flavor of both sherbet and ice cream. The sweetness is a key component that makes these frozen desserts enjoyable and appealing to consumers.
  2. Texture: Sugar plays a vital role in the texture and mouthfeel of sherbet and ice cream. It contributes to their smooth and creamy consistency, making them more pleasurable to eat.
  3. Freezing Point Depression: Sugar lowers the freezing point of the mixture, preventing the frozen dessert from becoming too hard and icy. This helps maintain a soft and scoopable texture.
  4. Balances Bitterness and Acidity: Some ingredients in sherbet and ice cream, such as cocoa in chocolate ice cream or certain fruits in sherbet, can be naturally bitter or acidic. Sugar is used to balance these flavors by creating a more well-rounded taste.
  5. Food Preservation: Sugar acts as a preservative by reducing the water activity in the frozen dessert. This helps prolong its shelf life by inhibiting microbial growth and spoilage.
  6. Market Demand and Consumer Preferences: Sweetness is a primary driver of consumer preference, and many people enjoy the taste of sugary desserts. As a result, manufacturers often formulate these frozen desserts with a certain level of sweetness to meet consumer expectations and drive sales. There is a reason why no added sugar ice cream is not massively popular and that is because people enjoy the sugar.

Recommended Daily Sugar Intake

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following for daily sugar intake:

Men: It is advised that men should limit their consumption to no more than 9 teaspoons (equivalent to 36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day.

Women: The recommended limit for women is even lower at 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day.

A serving of ice cream or sherbet can get men and women pretty close to the above recommendations. In some cases, women in particular may exceed the recommendation with just a single serving.

Most Americans exceed the above recommendations by at least double with sugary drinks being the main culprit. Overconsuming sugar can lead to problems down the road such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. You may wish to keep this in mind as you make food choices in the future.